A Rhode Island divorce lawyer with 22 years of experience in Providence Family Court explains how fault such as cheating affects a divorce in RI. Even though Rhode Island is a so called “no fault” state, fault can play a significant role in a Rhode Island divorce.
Fault can be important in a RI divorce
How does fault affect a Rhode Island divorce? Even though Rhode Island is a no fault state, fault can play a very important role in how the court equitably divides the assets and debts of the parties.
After the RI family court has determined what assets are in fact marital assets, then the court will look at various factors to determine the equitable division of assets.
The court may consider the following factors in determining equitable assignment of the property…
a) The length of the marriage;
b) The conduct of the parties during the marriage;
c) The contribution of each of the parties during the marriage in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates;
d) The contribution and services of either party as a homemaker;
e) The health and age of the parties;
f) The amount and sources of income of each of the parties
g) The occupation and employability of each of the parties;
h) The opportunity of each party for future acquisition of capital assets and income;
– Source: R.I.G.L. 15-5-16.1 (Rhode Island General Laws)
Among other factors which are set forth in R.I.G.L. 15-5-16.1. That statute specifically states that the court can consider any factor which the court so expressly finds to be just and proper.
In most cases marital assets divide equally
Please note that in many cases the parties decide to divide the property 50% to the wife and 50% to the husband. One of the most important factors the judge will look at in granting the husband or wife a disproportionate share of the marital assets is if the other party had an affair, was emotionally or physically abusive or had substantial drug and alcohol problems.
The role of deleterious conduct in awarding a disproportionate share of the marital assets in Providence Family Court
The court will also look at other negative conduct in awarding a disproportionate share of the marital assets. It is not uncommon for a judge to award a 60/40 or 55/45 distribution if the court finds that one party had an extra marital affair and that affair led to the breakdown of the marriage.