Why is there 3 month waiting period to enter Final Judgment of Divorce?

In RI Divorce, the Final Judgment of Divorce may not be entered until after three months from the nominal divorce trial or after the contested RI Divorce trial.

The Husband & Wife are legally married during the 3 month period until Final Judgment actually enters

waiting period for final judment

Providence Divorce

Final Judgment enters when the judge signs the final judgment and the clerk enters it. BE VERY CAREFUL! Final Judgment of divorce does not automatically enter in Rhode Island! The litigants remain Legally married until Final Judgment. Final Judgment also cannot enter if there are motions pending.

  • 15-5-23 Remarriage – Final decree. – After final decree for divorce from the bond of marriage either party may marry again; but no decree for a divorce shall become final and operative until three (3) months after the trial and decision….

Can the three-month waiting period be shortened?

No. the three-month waiting period is required by Rhode Island Law. It cannot be shortened. However, there is one exception to this rule. A RI divorce granted by the RI Family Court based on the grounds of living separate and apart for a space of 3 years has a significantly shorter waiting period.

Why is there a 3-month waiting period in Rhode Island?

The RI Legislature intended this to be a ‘cooling off’ period in which the parties could change their mind reconcile and remain married. This is not surprising in a heavily catholic state. However, the rule appears to be antiquated.


“The study suggests that both cohabitations and marriages tend to last longer under certain conditions, such as: a woman’s age at the time cohabitation or marriage began; whether she was raised throughout childhood in an intact 2-parent family; whether religion plays an important role in her life; and whether she had a higher family income or lived in a community with high median family income, low male unemployment, and low poverty. The report also shows that marriages that end do not always end in divorce; many end in separation and do not go through the divorce process. Separated white women are much more likely (91 percent) to divorce after 3 years, compared with separated Hispanic women (77 percent) and separated black women (67 percent). Meanwhile, the probability of remarriage among divorced women was 54 percent in 5 years–58 percent for white women, 44 percent for Hispanic women, and 32 percent for black women. However, there was also a strong probability that 2nd marriages will end in separation or divorce (23 percent after 5 years and 39 percent after 10 years).” http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/02news/div_mar_cohab.htm  For Release: July 24, 2002 Contact: NCHS/CDC Public Affairs, (301) 458-4800 E-mail: paoquery@cdc.gov Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the United States. Series Report 23, Number 22. 103pp. (PHS) 98-1998. [PDF – 5.5 MB]