Knowledgeable Rhode Island Lawyers Manage Contested and Uncontested Divorce


If you have decided to dissolve your marriage, it’s important to consider what process is most likely to deliver the result you seek. In Rhode Island, you can pursue an uncontested divorce, where neither party alleges marital misconduct. This type of filing is less confrontational and often makes it easier to reach a negotiated or mediated settlement so you can avoid trial. However, circumstances might make it necessary for you to take a more aggressive stand against your spouse to achieve a just resolution of all your marital issues. Whether you attempt a settlement or take your case to trial, you can get knowledgeable and highly professional representation at Kirshenbaum Law Associates, Inc. in Cranston. We draw on more than 100 combined years of legal experience to make the divorce process work for you.


Under Rhode Island law, a petitioner can pursue a “no contest” divorce by filing a complaint that cites irreconcilable differences that have caused a breakdown in the marriage or that the spouses have been living separate and apart without cohabitation for three years. This is known as the no-fault option, and it saves the petitioner the trouble of proving marital misconduct. Since this filing is less accusatory, it sets a more cooperative tone for the process to follow.

After the filing of the complaint and the respondent spouse’s answer — and in some cases before any papers are filed — the parties can begin settlement talks to tackle the marital issues they need to resolve: alimony, child custody, child support and property division. Many couples choose mediation to reach a settlement agreement, which they present to the judge for approval.

Uncontested divorce is often cheaper, less time-consuming and less stressful than a trial on the divorce issues. The court can often issue a divorce decree within 75 days of filing. However, filing no-fault does not guarantee an uncontested divorce. Issues can prove to be insurmountable during negotiations and can require a trial to resolve. Still, an uncontested divorce is often the best option, especially for couples with no children and few financial assets.


Petitioners for divorce in Rhode Island have the option to cite traditional grounds for dissolving their marriage. These include:

  • Impotence
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Willful desertion
  • Habitual drunkenness and/or drug abuse
  • Gross neglect
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment

A petitioner who alleges grounds must be prepared to prove fault through substantive evidence at trial. Proof that marital misconduct has led to the divorce is helpful in establishing a case for or against alimony. Judges can also consider marital misconduct when deciding how to allocate marital property.

A contested divorce is also preferable if circumstances prevent you from negotiating in good faith with your spouse. Such circumstances can include:

  • A history of domestic violence
  • Unfit parenting
  • Financial dishonesty or irresponsibility

For these reasons and more, it might be necessary to litigate your divorce aggressively to protect your financial interests as well as your children’s welfare. Taking your divorce to trial is more taxing, emotionally and financially, but it’s better to achieve a fair outcome at trial than to live with the hardship of an unfair settlement.

Trust our accomplished divorce lawyers to focus on positive results

At Kirshenbaum Law Associates, Inc. in Cranston, Rhode Island, our divorce attorneys are committed to providing exceptional service in contested and uncontested divorces. To learn more about how we can help you obtain optimal results, contact us online or call 401-467-5300 today.