An uncontested divorce in Rhode Island remains uncontested because the parties have reached agreement on all issues relating to the resolution of their marriage. Most of the time, unless the divorce does not involve minor children, real estate, or retirement accounts then the resolution of a divorce need not result in a written Marital Settlement Agreement.
However, the vast majority of Rhode Island divorces that are properly handled include a Marital Settlement or Property Settlement Agreement in a written form which sets forth the terms of the agreement between the two divorcing parties in detail so their isn't any confusion in the future regarding what the parties intended.
It is often misunderstood by parties that all it takes is "agreement between the parties" on all aspects of the resolution of the marriage.
This is NOT true! I told one gentleman this who was very upset when I told him this. He came out and said that I was wrong and every lawyer he had called had told him that all he had to do with his wife was come to an agreement. I asked him if he met with those attorneys. The man told me that he hadn't. I told him that was the problem. The man didn't care to speak with me further and apparently thought that I was going to try to make him pay money to explain my statement. Sadly, the man was a bit hot-headed and it would have been better if he had listened a few minutes more rather than simply hanging up on me.
While it is true that an uncontested divorce stays that way by reaching an agreement with your spouse, don't forget that the agreement does not simply get rubber stamped by the court judge! That's right, the court does not have to accept your agreement.
Why might the court not accept your agreement? What reasons could the court possibly have to refuse to approve the agreement reached between agreeable parties?
Ask yourself if you know the answers to these questions before you go running off thinking you can handle your own divorce easily because you and your spouse have worked out your own agreement.
1. Can the RI Divorce Judge refuse to approve your Marital Settlement Agreement in your Uncontested divorce proceeding
A) for aspects of your agreement regarding your children?
B) for your chosen division of your assets?
C) about the apportionment of your debts between both of you?
D) dealing in any way with your insurances?
E) that relate to out-of-pocket healthcare costs?
F) if both people have waived alimony permanently?
Surprisingly, not only are many people surprised that the court does not just rubber stamp every agreement put before it, but there are numerous reasons it does not do so and sometimes refuses to put your uncontested RI proceeding through for many reasons relating to protection of children and principles of fundamental fairness.
Are you at all concerned that your uncontested Rhode Island divorce might not go through because your agreement contains "red flags" that the court will notice and refuse to accept?
What do you do then? Many people either cannot afford or do not want to pay for a lawyer for their entire case. I can certainly understand and respect that. So I provide a unique and individualized new service to my clients. It is a Marital Settlement Agreement Review. This involves three segments and depends upon the length of the agreement.
Segment 1. Meeting with the Client to Obtain Background Information
Segment 2. Review of the Marital Settlement Agreement based upon the Background Information obtained from the client.
Segment 3. Meeting with the Client to review in detail questionable provisions of the Marital Settlement Agreement to insure you understand your Marital/Property Settlement Agreement to make sure you understand either all the provisions of your agreement or the provisions that may a greater impact upon you and consequences that you may want to reconsider or approach in a different way.
This service for you in a Marital Settlement Agreement is for the review of an existing agreement that either you and your spouse have prepared or the review of an agreement that has been prepared by one or both attorneys for the parties. People would be surprised to find that sometimes they may not have chosen the best lawyer to protect their interests as it relates to their Marital Settlement Agreements.
Contracts is a very special area of Family Law that I have taken the time to become particularly adept at in order to protect my clients. If you are at all hesitant about your lawyer and/or your marital settlement agreement because you are concerned about what you are agreeing too, then trust your instincts.
Call me and set up your Marital Settlement Review program to make sure that something important isn't missed or that your agreement is appropriate for your circumstances?
Call me Now at (401) 632-6976 to set up your low cost unbiased 2nd opinion from a skilled professional who has been practicing exclusively divorce for over a decade!
All my Best to All Who Go Before the Rhode Island Family Court,
I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."