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Rhode Island Divorce Laws

Divorce, or the dissolution of marriage in legal terms, is regulated by state laws, as are marriage and other family matters. State divorce laws determine which grounds are acceptable for divorce, whether the parties are even eligible for divorce, and the steps required to finalize the divorce. Some states also have waiting periods, require at least one party to be a resident for a certain period of time, or mandate legal separation prior to divorce.

A "no fault" divorce may be obtained in every state, which means neither party is responsible for the divorce, typically stated on court documents as "irreconcilable differences" or "irretrievable breakdown." However, states will grant a divorce if one of the parties is able to prove cause, such as bigamy or domestic violence.

Divorce Laws in Rhode Island at a Glance

Rhode Island requires at least one of the parties to a divorce to have been a resident of the state for at least one year, while the final decree for a divorce may take anywhere from 30 days to three months from the date of the decision. To file for a no-fault divorce, either the court must determine that the marriage is irretrievably broken or the two parties must have been living separately for at least three years.

See FindLaw's Divorce section for a variety of helpful articles and resources.

Code Section

15-5-1 to 28

Residency Requirements

One party resident 1 yr.; if based on defendant's residency, he must be personally serviced with process.

Waiting Period

Final decree entered anytime within 30 days or 3 months from decision date.

'No Fault' Grounds for Divorce

Irretrievable breakdown; separation (for at least 3 yrs.).

Defenses to a Divorce Filing


Other Grounds for Divorce

Adultery; cruelty or violence; desertion for 5 yrs.; drug/alcohol addiction; impotency; nonsupport; any other gross/repugnant behavior (refusal and neglect).

Note: State laws may change at any time, usually through the enactment of newly signed legislation but sometimes through higher court actions or other methods. You may want to contact a Rhode Island divorce attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Rhode Island Divorce Requirements: Related Resources

Get Legal Help with Your Divorce in Rhode Island

Dividing up marital property. Moving out of your home. Deciding who will get more time with the kids. All of these issues are stressful and also an important part of the divorce process in Rhode Island. All the things you need to know about your divorce can be answered by an experienced divorce attorney. Get some peace of mind today -- speak with a local divorce attorney who can explain how Rhode Island divorce laws will affect your case.

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