Fair Division of Marital Assets in Rhode Island Divorce

Warwick Area Property Division Lawyer Protecting Your Financial Interests

Divorce inevitably causes feelings of uncertainty about one's financial future. Having a plan of action can help ease that anxiety.

Rhode Island divorce attorney Kerry I. Rafanelli has more than 30 years of experience in divorce negotiations, divorce litigation and divorce mediation. He will skillfully negotiate a property settlement agreement – with or without alimony – that protects your rights to your share of the marital property.

Separate versus marital property

Rhode Island is an equitable distribution state, which means that each spouse is entitled to a generally equal portion of the marital property. Each partner also has a right to keep property they owned prior to the marriage as long as that property was not "commingled" with the marital assets.

Determining whether something is a separate asset or a marital asset can become a sticky question. If you put money from an inheritance into the same bank account that you and your spouse use for all your joint household expenses, then you have "commingled" those funds and your spouse may now have a claim on them. Or, if you used money you earned while you were married, that would have belonged to the two of you, to fix up a rental property that you owned prior to marriage, some portion of that rental property may now be a marital asset. Pensions and retirement funds are often a shared asset.

Rights to the marital home

In most marriages, both parties have a financial interest in the family home even if only one person is working and paying for it. You will need to make a decision about whether one person will be staying in the home or if the home will be sold. If one person is staying in the home – perhaps to raise the children – then the other spouse must be compensated, now or in the future.

The spouse keeping the home can buy out the other spouse's interest, other property can be given to offset the value of the home, or the settlement agreement can include a date for future sale of the home and distribution of the gains.

If you decide to sell, you will need to discuss what to do if the house doesn't sell right away. Who will be paying the mortgage, insurance, taxes and maintenance during the waiting period. Attorney Rafanelli can help you establish clear terms for managing this asset until sale and/or offsetting the value of this asset in the overall property settlement negotiation.

Spousal support

When it comes to the decision to award of alimony, the family court judge will consider each party's income, health, education, work history, station in life, and years of marriage. The judge does not consider gender. Either party could be ordered to receive or pay spousal support.

Valuing complex assets

Mr. Rafanelli works with many clients who have significant assets, complex estates, family businesses or other business interest that could be impacted by the divorce. The first step in dividing or offsetting these assets is understanding their true value. Learn more about the process of valuation of complex assets .

Let us protect your financial interests in a property settlement agreement

Call Warwick area property division lawyer Kerry I. Rafanelli at 401-398-8388 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.