Rhode Island adheres to a principle of equitable distribution of the marital estate when dealing with divorce cases.
It is important to keep in mind that equitable does not necessarily mean equal.
The role of the Rhode Island Family Court Judge in a divorce proceeding is to determine based upon all the facts and circumstances presented to the court, what is an equitable distribution of the assets and what is an equitable apportionment of the debt between the parties.
In making this determination the Rhode Island Family Court judge looks at a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, the conduct of the parties during the marriage, each party's ability to earn additional income, etc.... and based upon all of the various considerations the court will determine if one party should receive more or less of a particular asset or more or less of the debt burden of the parties.
Equitable distribution is not determinable in advance with any certainty and it would be unreasonable to expect any lawyer to give you a likely scenario of who will get what portion of the marital assets and who will be responsible for what portion of the debts. As this blog article makes clear, equitable distribution is determined by the family court judge based upon the circumstances.
If you as the client are to obtain any insight at all regarding what may happen if the distribution of your marital estate is made by a judge after trial then your best bet is to ask your Rhode Island divorce lawyer (hopefully a regularly practicing family court attorney) about the process and what his or her thoughts are regarding your particular judge's ideas on distribution.
A good divorce lawyer who regularly practices in the family courts should be able to give you some indication of where you may stand regarding asset distribution and debt apportionment.