West Warwick Divorce Attorney
What happens in the process of a divorce, or other family court action, can have a tremendous impact on your life and your children’s lives. At the Law Office of Devane, Fogarty & Ribezzo we realize that the decision to file a divorce, a contested custody petition, or any number of motions that may be filed in the Rhode Island Family Courts can be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that you be advised of all of your legal rights and obligations in an understandable and compassionate manner. Our office has been representing clients in the Rhode Island Family Courts since 1998.
We offer a free initial consultation where we discuss the issues relevant to your case and give you an estimate as to a range of possible outcomes and the cost of our services. We also offer flexible fee arrangements including flat rate representation for uncontested matters and hourly billing for contested cases. We pride ourselves on returning client calls promptly and answering questions in plain and simple language. We also work closely with clients from the start to finish and always explain the full range of possibilities open to them.
The Divorce Process
In order to file a divorce in the State of Rhode Island at least one of the parties to the divorce must have been a continuously domiciled resident of this state for at least one year prior to filing his/her complaint with the court. Upon filing a Complaint for Divorce the matter will be assigned to a nominal (uncontested) divorce date, which is usually around 75 days after the date the divorce was filed. Where necessary, motions for temporary allowances may be heard within four to six weeks after the date of filing to decide issues of temporary child placement and visitation, temporary child support, payment of debts and household expenses and other matters that cannot wait for a final adjudication within the divorce. In addition, emergency matters can generally be heard “ex-parte”, which means that a judge can issue an order immediately upon the filing of divorce upon affidavit of one side to the action, until the matter can be heard on the merits.
In uncontested divorces, the case can usually be heard on the first assigned date. After the divorce is heard, an interlocutory (temporary) divorce decree is entered with the court within 30 days after the hearing and a Final Judgment of Divorce may be entered after 90 days (21 days after the hearing in divorces based on the grounds that the parties lived separate and apart for more than 3 years). The divorce is not legally final until the Final Judgment of Divorce has been signed by the judge and entered with the court.
In contested divorces the initial nominal date is usually passed (skipped) and temporary orders may be entered after hearing upon motion of either party. The court assigns the divorce for case management and/or pretrial dates to determine the issues in contest and to schedule the discovery process. Discovery generally consists of interrogatories (questions to be answered under oath), requests for production of documents (ie. pension statements, credit card bills and a litany of other documents necessary to effectively litigate the divorce) and depositions. During this process the attorneys and the court will generally continue making efforts to resolve the issues in controversy. In our experience, approximately 85-90% of contested divorces are ultimately settled short of a full trial. However, in those circumstances where trial is necessary you can be assured that we will be prepared and zealous advocates on your behalf.