Authored By: Christopher Pearsall, RI Divorce Attorney
a.k.a. " The Rhode Island Divorce Coach ℠ "
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Rhode Island General Laws § 188.8.131.52 sets forth the primary statute delineating the Equitable Distribution of the Marital Estate in a Divorce proceeding whether it is an Absolute divorce or a divorce from bed and board. That statute currently states as follows:
R.I. General Laws § 184.108.40.206 sets forth the primary statute delineating the Equitable Distribution of the Marital Estate in a Divorce proceeding whether it is an Absolute divorce or a divorce from bed and board.
That statute currently states as follows:
15-5-16.1. Assignment of property
|(a)||In addition to or in lieu of an order to pay spousal support made pursuant to a complaint for divorce, the court may assign to either the husband or wife a portion of the estate of the other. In determining the nature and value of the property, if any, to be assigned, the court after hearing the witnesses, if any, of each party shall consider the following:
|(b)||The court may not assign property or an interest in property held in the name of one of the parties if the property was held by the party prior to the marriage, but may assign income which has been derived from the property during the term of the marriage, and the court may assign the appreciation of value from the date of the marriage of property or an interest in property which was held in the name of one party prior to the marriage which increased in value as a result of the efforts of either spouse during the marriage. The court also shall not assign property or an interest in property which has been transferred to one of the parties by inheritance before, during, or after the term of the marriage. The court shall not assign property or an interest in property which has been transferred to one of the parties by gift from a third party before, during, or after the term of the marriage.|
The assignment of property, if any, to be made shall precede the award of alimony, since the needs of each party will be affected by the assignment of property, and once made in a final decree shall be final, subject only to any right of appeal which the parties may have. Any assignment made by the family court shall be regarded as a judgment for debt so that suit may be brought or execution may issue on the debt for the property due and undelivered, or the amount due and unpaid to be shown by affidavits of the person entitled to the property and the attorney of record of the person, the executions to run against the goods and chattels of the husband and wife, as the case may be; and the court may make all necessary orders and decrees concerning the suits or executions.
Current through Public Law 143 of 2013 Legislative Session
So what is the snippet of information to give you? It arises from the case of Quinn v. Quinn, 512 A.2d 848 (RI 1986) which has been confirmed as current law by its restatement in Tondreault v. Tondreault, 966 A.2d 654 (R.I. 2009).
The Quinn case tells us that despite the statutory provisions in RIGL 15-5-16.1, the statutory provisions do not preclude the court from including within the marital estate an asset that is traceable back to inherited property.
Simply because an asset was inherited does not exclude it from the marital estate. If you included your spouses name on the asset's title, if you commingled the asset with your marriage, if you sold the asset and used the proceeds to buy something used in your marriage, if you inherited funds and deposited them in a joint account with your spouse . . . . all of these things can change the character and nature of the inherited item such that it is no longer exempt from the marital estate.
The law changes frequently. Always have to check your law and seek the advice of an experienced Rhode island divorce attorney who has been fully infomed about your case before taking action.