The State of Rhode Island is not a 50/50, or community property, state. It is what’s known as an equitable distribution state. So, when a Rhode Island court rules on the allocation of assets, they are not necessarily divided equally between the two parties. While almost all states mandate a 50/50 split, Rhode Island is unique and requires that the parties or Court consider a number of different factors.
More specifically, Rhode Island laws dictate that the courts determine a fair or equitable division of marital assets, regardless of who actually owns them. So long as they are determined to be marital in nature, they are subject to division. For instance, a court could declare that the division or property 55/45, or 60/40, etc.
Many factors are taken into account when determining the division of assets. They are tailored to the individual facts, circumstances and case before the Court, but must include the length of the marriage, the behavior of each parties during the marriage, the health status of both parties, and the occupations of each party. Additionally, children, and specific unique needs of each party can be weighed when deciding on a fair division of assets. No particular factor outweighs another and the Court is free to assign more weight to any particular thing they believe is most relevant.
Remember, all marital assets are subject to division between the spouses, and not always equally. This property usually includes, a spouse owned business, real estate, retirement accounts, investments etc.
Debts and tax responsibilities should also be considered when dividing assets. Keep in mind that not all assets have the same tax consequences. Retirement funds, for example, are generally before tax assets, and tax is paid upon distribution of funds. Additionally, debts are not divided into other assets.
The process of asset division during divorce is complicated. For help navigating this complex issue in Rhode Island, contact our firm for reliable legal advice.