Rather than divide marital property equally, the State of Rhode Island General Laws require a Judge to divide it equitably. This means fairly and taking into account the good and bad behavior of both parties.

Rhode Island generally considers “marital property” as any property—be it income, assets, real estate, or everyday items—that comes into possession of the couple, or either of the spouses individually, during the course of the marriage. This could include trade secrets, stock holdings, and artistic creations. For individuals of high net worth, or those who make their living by possessing valuable intellectual property, it is especially valuable to have a prenuptial agreement in place to keep this property separate from that held in common in the marriage.

Notwithstanding the fact that most property created during a marriage is in fact subject to division, a court will usually not divide inherited assets, gifted assets or pre-marital property. However, all assets are subject to being brought into the marital estate, based upon the actions of the parties during the marriage.

In deciding what is an “equitable” division of property, the court will consider a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, the fault and behavior of the parties, the relative incomes of the parties involved, and the financial and emotional contributions made by each party during the marriage.

If you are seeking to protect your hard-earned assets from someone who wants more than his or her fair share, or if your contributions to the marriage and household are being downplayed, call our office today to discuss your case. We’ll help you find peace of mind.