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What Does “Equitable Division” of Property Mean in a Rhode Island Divorce?

Divorcing spouses must decide how to divvy up all of their assets and liabilities, from the family home to the credit card bills. If you and your spouse are unable to reach a property settlement on your own, the court will step in and make an “equitable” division of property.

Contrary to what many couples think, “equitable” means fair, but it does not necessarily translate into a 50/50 division. Rather, under Rhode Island law, judges are required to examine factors that include but are not limited to:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage
  • The contribution of each of the parties during the marriage in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates
  • The contribution and services of either party as a homemaker
  • The health and age of the parties
  • The amount and sources of income of each of the parties, including their occupation and employability
  • The opportunity of each party for future acquisition of capital assets and income
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training, licensure, business or increased earning power of the other
  • The need of the custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects, taking into account the best interests of the children of the marriage
  • Either party's wasteful dissipation of assets or any transfer or encumbrance of assets made in contemplation of divorce without fair consideration

In addition to the above considerations, judges may also take into account any other factors that they deem just and proper. Therefore, even though Rhode Island is a no-fault divorce state, issues such as infidelity, domestic violence and drug or alcohol abuse may still come into play during your divorce proceedings.

Given the number of issues involved and the potential implications for your financial future, property division disputes can become contentious. A knowledgeable Rhode Island division of assets attorney can help reduce your stress by walking you through the process and working hard to divide your assets to your benefit.

No matter how complex your divorce case, Kirshenbaum Law Associates has the experience and dedication needed to help you protect and divide all types of assets.