How does a Rhode Island divorce lawyer who is seemingly competent make the mistake of advising clients and people in general, through writings, articles, press releases or other literature or publications that Rhode Island is a NO FAULT state when it comes to divorce?
I’ve seen this on several lawyer’s websites and I’ve seen this on generic legal sites that try to entice you to come to their sites so they can help hook you up with a legal referral service from which I can only presume they receive some kind of kickback or monetary remuneration.
Yet for heaven’s sake, shouldn’t a lawyer at least get the fundamentals right! It’s no wonder lawyers have a bad name when lawyers go out of their chosen field of expertise and give answers that are incorrect simply because they don’t want to lose a client or appear inept. This becomes a stereotype that is then applied to all lawyers.
Well, let me set the record straight. Any lawyer, whether they are licensed to practice law in Rhode Island or not, who tells you that Rhode Island is a NO FAULT state when it comes to divorce, simply does not know what they are talking about. Frankly, if after reading this article you go ahead and hire such a lawyer then you deserve exactly what you get.
This is and should be an easy question for any Rhode Island lawyer who professes to practice before the Rhode Island family courts. Even if it isn’t known off the top of the lawyer’s head, he or she should be able to look up the answer in a matter of 60 seconds.
Here’s a quick lesson. A state that is considered a NO FAULT divorce state is one in which divorces are not granted based upon the fault of either party. In other words all grounds for divorce in that “NO FAULT” state are not based on the fault of either party.
I’ve heard it stated by Rhode Island lawyers and I’ve even seen it published by Rhode Island lawyers that Rhode Island is a NO FAULT divorce state. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
Frankly, I don’t have to tell you it’s wrong at all. The Rhode Island General Assembly that makes the laws of our state has already said it.
Though Rhode Island Family Court judges and most parties prefer divorces that are based on irreconcilable differences (which WOULD be a NO FAULT divorce) that is not the only grounds for divorce. The following section of the Rhode Island General laws spells out the additional grounds for divorce as follows:
15-5-2 Additional grounds for divorce. – Divorces from the bond of marriage shall also be decreed for the following causes:
(3) Extreme cruelty;
(4) Willful desertion for five (5) years of either of the parties, or for willful desertion for a shorter period of time in the discretion of the court;
(5) Continued drunkenness;
(6) The habitual, excessive, and intemperate use of opium, morphine, or chloral;
(7) Neglect and refusal, for the period of at least one year next before the filing of the petition, on the part of the husband to provide necessaries for the subsistence of his wife, the husband being of sufficient ability; and
(8) Any other gross misbehavior and wickedness, in either of the parties, repugnant to and in violation of the marriage covenant.
Now, if any Rhode Island lawyer who professes to you that Rhode Island is a NO FAULT state. Please have him or her explain to you how each of these items lacks a condition or action by either one or both parties that is not fault based. Then, please give me a call and explain it to me.
My point is simply this. Rhode Island is NOT a NO FAULT divorce state. This is an easy way to determine if the lawyer you are considering engaging for your divorce matter knows what he or she is talking about or not. If you ask the lawyer if Rhode Island is a NO FAULT divorce state and he or she says “yes” . . . then I highly recommend finding a new lawyer to interview.
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