Part Two of our Four part series discusses the specific documents required for filing a divorce, along with the cost and service associated with it. This informational series will be useful to assist in reducing problems while obtaining your divorce in Rhode Island.
Documents Required for Filing – The following minimum documents are required for filing a petition:
1. Marriage certificate. It can be a copy or a foreign certificate. If it is in a foreign language an informal translation is required.
3. Complaint or Petition for Divorce outlining the grounds for divorce and a general demand of what you are seeking. This demand includes topics like custody, placement and visitation of minor children and an equitable division of marital property. A party may ask to decline alimony and the wife may request that she resume her maiden name. When the issues are complicated the demand may be more specified in a document attached to the complaint.
4. A list of names, ages and residency of all minor children born during the marriage. There is a refutable presumption that all children born during the marriage are the biological offspring of both parties.
5. Financial statement called a DR-6.
Additional documents frequently filed:
a. Motion for Temporary Orders – one of the parties, usually the filing party, may ask for temporary joint custody and placement of the children, along with sole use and occupancy of the marital domicile, support for the children, funds to maintain the home and any other reasonable request to keep the family functioning. This motion will be given a hearing date prior to nominal date.
b. Emergency or Ex-Parte Motion – in cases where domestic violence or abuse, drugs, alcohol, dissipation of assets, or other activities on behalf of the other party to the detriment of the filing party, the filing party or responding party can ask for an emergency or ex-parte (one sided) immediate, temporary order for sole custody, placement, limited, supervised or suspension of visitation of minor children, child support, or a restraining order against the other party.
c. Cost – The cost of a divorce depends on if there are minor children, the nature and extent of assets and whether you and your spouse are disagreeing as to custody, placement and visitation of the children, as well as how to divide the assets.
d. Service on the defendant – the other party must be served twenty days or more prior to the nominal date. It is necessary to serve the defendant spouse the Summons and Complaint for Divorce in order for the divorce to be heard. It is critical to know where your spouse resides and/or works to obtain effective service.
Service can be obtained:
1. In hand by a constable at work or at home, which can be fulfilled by an appointment for privacy reasons.
2. If your spouse lives out of state, you know where your spouse lives and your spouse is willing to cooperate, service can be accomplished by e-mailing the documents for an e-mailed response, and/or by certified mail where your spouse signs for the certified documents. If your spouse is uncooperative and we know where your spouse works or lives, we can arrange for a local constable to serve your spouse at either location.
3. If you do not know where your spouse lives, but you do know the last known city and state of your spouse’s residency we can advertise as a last resort. Advertising can cost between $600.00 to $1,000.00 depending on the city.
4. If your spouse lives in a foreign country, depending on the reliability of the mail and if your spouse is cooperative, international certified mail can be used. Otherwise, it can be arranged through a friend or a government agent in that country for your spouse to be served.
Please stay tuned for the next part in our “Thinking of Divorce” series regarding children and custodial issues that may arise throughout the divorce process. Of course, if you need immediate assistance or information please call one of our expert divorce attorneys now at (401) 725-1810.