Family Law and Divorce

10 Random Family Law and Divorce FAQS

Question: Is there any way to shorten the 90 day waiting period after the nominal Rhode Island Divorce.

Answer. No, the 90 day waiting period is mandated by Law. A Final Judgment of Divorce cannot be granted by a Family Court Judge until the 91st day after the nominal Divorce hearing. The only exception to this rule is for divorce complaints granted based on the grounds of living separate and apart for a space of 3 years which has a substantially lesser waiting period.

Question: Why is there a 90 day waiting period in Rhode Island?

Answer: The intent of the statute is that parties may reconcile during the 90 days and decide not to get divorced.

Question: I am in a rush to get a divorce, do I have wait until the nominal divorce hearing which is typically 65 days after filing?

Answer: No. The nominal divorce hearing could be substantially earlier than 65 days.

Question: Can I file for divorce if we do not satisfy the 1 year Rhode Island Residency Requirement to obtain a RI Divorce.

Answer: No. Until either party satisfies the one year residency requirement, the only option is a complaint for Separate Maintenance, a Divorce from Bed and Board or a Miscellaneous Petition for Custody, Placement or Child Support.

Question: What is a Divorce from Bed and Board and Future Cohabitation?

Answer: It is something that should almost never be filed. In this type of case, the parties go though the entire divorce but in the end they remain legally married and do not obtain an absolute divorce.

Question: Why would anyone ever get a Divorce from Bed and Board?

Answer: That’s an excellent question. The prime rationale for this would be religious reasons.

Question: What is the statutory Interest for Child Support Arrears?

Answer: 12 percent

Question: Will the State of Rhode Island waive statutory interest owed to the state of Rhode Island for Child support or Cash medical Contributions?

Answer: The State will only consider waive the amount of interest owed to RI for child support or cash medical contributions after the principal amount has been paid in full.

Question: Can I get a divorce just by signing papers without a nominal hearing?

Answer: No. A Nominal Hearing is required to obtain a divorce in RI.

Question: Do mothers automatically get custody of young children in a Rhode Island Custody case?

Answer: No. Rhode Island uses the best interest of the child standard in determining custody of all children.

Practical Tip: A mother who is a fit and proper person has a significant advantage in obtaining custody of a young child in RI Family Court.