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Navigating Rough Waters – Divorce Process as well as Strategy – via Filing to Trial!

This kind of is actually part two of a two part series on the Rhode Island divorce process including divorce strategy. Part one, pertians to the initial stages of a divorce via finding a Rhode Island Attorney to filing for divorce. Please see below for a link to part one of This kind of series.

This kind of article discusses divorce strategy as well as the divorce process after filing for divorce. This kind of article is actually for informational purposes only as well as does not constitute legal advice. the idea is actually a very bad idea for a person to represent themselves in a Rhode Island divorce without a lawyer.

Nominal or Contested Track

When a Rhode Island divorce is actually filed, the case is actually put onto one of two tracks, the contested track or the nominal track. The Plaintiff in their initial divorce filing designates the track they desire. The vast majority of divorces filed in Rhode Island are placed on the nominal divorce track. A designation on the “nominal track” does not necessarily mean of which the divorce will be uncontested. the idea usually means of which the party who filed believes of which the case can be settled relatively quickly or wants the divorce to be settled relatively quickly.

Answer to Divorce Complaint

The defendant must file an answer to the divorce within 20 days of service as well as absolutely no later than the nominal court date or any motion date. If the Defendant does not answer the case he is actually subject to being defaulted. A default is actually when the defendant does not answer the case on a timely basis as well as the Plaintiff will usually get all of the relief of which he or she requests.

Nominal divorce

If the case is actually put on the nominal track then the clerk will automatically set a nominal divorce hearing upon the Plaintiff filing for divorce. This kind of hearing will typically be scheduled via 65-70 days after the Plaintiff files. from the event of which the divorce is actually not settled by the nominal divorce date then the case will automatically be changed to the contested track.

If the matter is actually not settled by the nominal court date as well as both parties want to try to resolve the remaining issues in court as well as believe the idea is actually possible to resolve the remaining issues, then the parties can attempt to settle the case from the hallway or conference rooms from the courthouse as well as put the case through as a nominal uncontested divorce on of which date.

If the defendant has not filed an answer, the idea is actually dangerous for the defendant to not appear in court at the nominal court date based on representations made by the additional party.

There have been many occasions when a souse has assured the additional party of which the idea is actually not necessary to appear in court as well as not necessary to file an answer as well as the defendant is actually defaulted as well as the additional spouse gets 100 percent of the assets of the marriage.

On the date of the nominal divorce hearing, at the call of the calendar, the case will be either ready nominal or the parties will ask the judge to hold the case so they can try to resolve the remaining issues. If the parties cannot resolve the remaining issues they will inform the Court clerk or the judge of which the case cannot be settled as well as the case track will be changed to the contested divorce track. If the case track is actually changed there will be no hearing of which date as well as the court will inform the parties of the next pretrial conference date.

If the parties ask the clerk to hold the matter they will usually get a substantial amount of time to negotiate the remaining issues from the hallway. Upon settling all the remaining family law issues which may include issues of property division, child support, child custody, child visitation, alimony, contempt issues, restraining order issues etc the clerk should be informed of which the case is actually currently ready nominal. At of which point the clerk as well as judge will put you back on the list of cases ready for the nominal hearing.

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Law a divorce cannot be resolved without a nominal divorce hearing. At the nominal divorce hearing certain testimony must be elicited in order for the divorce to be granted. In some circumstances, the idea is actually necessary to have witnesses to briefly testify. If you don’t hold the required witness your case could be delayed or even dismissed as well as you may waste your time attending court.

Most Rhode Island divorce as well as family law attorneys have done these nominal hearing hundreds of times. the idea is actually a very bad idea for a person to represent himself or herself in a divorce! As the old adage goes a person who represents themselves features a fool for a lawyer. Since everything you have worked so hard for is actually on the line the idea is actually foolish to go through the Rhode Island divorce process without Rhode Island divorce as well as family law lawyer.

If the case was originally placed on the contested track calendar, then the clerk did not schedule any automatic nominal court date. If the case later becomes settled then the parties can ask the clerk for permission to come on a particular date for the nominal divorce hearing. Otherwise the parties can wait for a motion date or the pretrial date to do the nominal divorce hearing.

Discovery in RI Divorce

After the divorce is actually filed the Plaintiff as well as or the defendant can at their option proceed with “discovery”. Discovery in general is actually the process by which the parties get information or admissions via the additional party. Discovery is actually most important as well as perhaps crucial in a case when a spouse is actually unaware of the nature as well as extent of the marital property as well as estate. Discovery can be also useful to obtain documents or additional tangible evidence of which is actually needed for settlement or trial.

The Rhode Island discovery process also can be used to obtain admissions of certain allegations. While the idea is actually unethical as well as perhaps immoral for a person to lie about cheating or an affair to their spouse the idea is actually not illegal or criminal for a person to lie to their spouse about an affair. If a person lies under oath either in testimony or in a written document under oath they may be committing the crime of perjury.

Also if a judge believes a party is actually lying under oath there could be stiff sanctions as well as penalties including a referral to the attorney general for prosecution. However, in reality, most incidents of lying in family court are not prosecuted as crimes. Many attorneys use request for admissions or interrogatories to force the additional party to state under oath whether or not they had an affair as well as the extent as well as details concerning the extra-marital affair / cheating/ infidelity.

There are several discover mechanisms of which can be used: interrogatories, request for production of documents, request for admissions, depositions, subpoena duces tecum, subpoenas etc.


Interrogatories are written questions of which a party may sends to the additional party. Each side is actually allowed up to 32 interrogatories. Interrogatories can be helpful in obtaining lists of assets, allegations of which will be made by your spouse or additional useful information. This kind of information requested can run the gamut via child support to marital infidelity as well as may include: child custody issues, child visitation, drug as well as alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, alimony, health insurance issues, real estate issues, estate planning as well as trust issues, personal injury claims, domestic violence / restraining orders, criminal history, valuation of assets, mental health history as well as any Rhode Island family law issues.

Interragaoties must be answered from the time frame set by the Rhode island domestic Court Rules. Interrogatories are usually partially written as well as also reviewed by your husband or wifes’ lawyer. Therefore, while a valuable tool there are some limitations to the usefulness of the information received.

Request for Admissions

Requests for admissions when used appropriately can be a powerful discovery tool in a RI divorce. Request for admissions are written requests usually prepared by the attorney, which the additional party must reply within a short period of time. If the party does not reply to the request for admissions within the applicable time the allegation will be deemed admitted.


A Deposition is actually when a party usually through their lawyer can ask their spouse questions under oath in front of a court reporter. In Rhode Island family Court, a party must obtain leave of court / permission via the court in order to take a deposition. Motions to take deposition of the additional party are almost always granted by Family Court Judges. Depositions are powerful yet expensive discovery tools. A deposition usually is actually effective because the attorney can ask the additional party questions face to face. The attorney can ask follow up questions as well as can ask questions in different ways. This kind of is actually particularly effective if a party is actually being evasive or less than forthcoming. There is actually very little the additional attorney can do to help their clients answer the questions during a deposition.

Depositions are very expensive because the Court reporters transcript could cost several hundred dollars. Also the attorney doing the deposition will need perhaps several hours to prepare for the deposition. Also both attorneys will need to attend the deposition, which could take up to several hours. Depositions are usually better ways to get information about sensitive topics then interrogatories.

Request for Production of Documents

Request for production of documents is actually a list of requested documents of which must be responded to within the applicable time period. I find This kind of discovery tool to be particularly successful in obtaining documents as well as records concerning: pension plan documents, 401k records, retirement accounts, employment documents, wage documents, health insurance records, stock accounts, estate planning documents, bank statements, real estate documents etc.


A Subpoena Duces Tecum can be very effective in obtaining documents via third parties such as bank records, stock records, employment as well as wage records as well as additional documents.

The third part of This kind of three part series which is actually coming soon addresses preparing for a Divorce trial to the actual divorce trial to the entry of Final Judgment

Source by David Slepkow

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