Marital Property & Equitable Division


Wondering what will happen to your property in the event of a divorce? Concerned that you will lose out on valuable assets? The more you understand about property division, the better you can navigate your divorce. First, you must understand that Rhode Island is an equitable division state. What exactly does that mean? All marital property will be split up between spouses in a way that the court deems fair. This gives the power to the court to determine what is “fair” or equitable. They will decide this by reviewing factors that are intended to give a full picture of how each spouse contributed to the marriage and what they will need to move forward. Again, the division only has to be fair, not equal.

Marital Property vs. Separate Property

Next, you must be able to identify what is marital property (that which will be divided) and separate property. Non-marital property is any type of asset that belonged to a specific spouse and was kept separate from marital assets. This my include inheritance, gifts, and other items that the spouse did not mix with marital property. For example, if you owned certain property before your marriage and did not commingle it with marital assets, you may be able to keep it out of the division process. However, if the court sees it fit, they may divide separate assets as well.

Anything either spouse acquires or earns during the marriage will be considered marital property. This may include retirement benefits, wages, debts, investments, and businesses. Even if you obtained certain property prior to marriage, if it increased in value due to the contributions of the marriage, that increase or gain in capital may be viewed as marital property.

Factors the Court Will Consider

When determining how marital property will be divided the court will look at:

  • The age and health of each spouse
  • How long the spouses were married
  • Each spouse’s financial and general contributions
  • The current income and earning potential of each spouse
  • If there are children, which parent is the custodial parent
  • Debts accumulated by either spouse
  • Any other factors that impacted property and assets

Have more questions about property division? Concerned about how equitable division will impact your case? Now is the time to call on a Rhode Island divorce attorney who can review your case. Reach out to Steven G. Wright, Attorney at Law for trusted counsel!

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