Why Did My Lawyer include Alimony in my Divorce Complaint When I Don't Want It?
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A Major Reason to Include a Request for Alimony in Your RI Divorce Complaint by a Rhode Island Family Lawyer!

On November 27, 2012 I wrote an article entitled "Why Did My Lawyer include Alimony in my Divorce Complaint When I Don't Want It?" in my blog at RhodeIslandDivorceTips.com.  The content of that article was responding to a person who did not understand why their Rhode Island lawyer might include a request for alimony in the divorce complaint when the person (i.e. the client) told the attorney that the client didn't want alimony.

 This article on alimony explains more specifically the type of situation that a lawyer might anticipate by including a request for alimony on the client's behalf.

As I mentioned in the previous article, alimony is one of those subjects that if not requested in the complaint for divorce might be considered waived by the client if not contained in the initial complaint.  Therefore, it is extremely important for both the client and the attorney to carefully consider whether a request for alimony should be left out entirely in the divorce complaint.

Though it may be rare, lawyers and clients should consider even the rarest of circumstances when excluding an alimony request.

Consider the following situation:

Tamara wants to divorce her husband, Jonathan and decides to represent herself to prepare the paperwork.  Tamara is a relatively successful graphic artist and has a bright future. She does not include a request for alimony from Jonathan in her divorce complaint.

Before a Final Judgment is entered in Tamara's divorce she is accidentally hit by a delivery truck. Tamara is now confined to a wheelchair for life and her main drawing hand is partially crushed.  Tamara's promising future has come to an abrupt end.

Tamara is now disabled and needs help caring for herself and supporting herself.

Tamara files a Motion for Alimony in the Rhode Island family court since a Final Judgment has not entered.  The judge determines that because Tamara never included a request for alimony from Jonathan that any request for alimony was effectively waived regardless of the change in circumstance.

This is only one of many possible circumstances that can happen that make it important to include an alimony request in a divorce complaint.  This is true even if the person filing the complaint or counterclaim for divorce doesn't expect to receive alimony from their spouse at all.

 As you can tell from reading this article, including a request for alimony in your divorce complaint or counterclaim is meant to protect a valuable legal right that you have available to you.  Sometimes it is merely included in your divorce documents only to protect you from that rare instance like Tamara's case.  In most cases, leaving the language out entirely is not a risk worth taking.

Remember, none of us can predict the future with any degree of certainty no matter how well we plan or how well we think we know our spouse.  In the example regarding Tamara, she chose to leave out the language and I am certain she would have regretted it.  

It may help to think of it this way.  Including the language in your complaint or counterclaim for divorce is not to anger your spouse, it is not for revenge (or, in my humble opinion should not be used that way), rather it is the protection of a valuable legal right that may be lost forever if it is not included in your divorce complaint or counterclaim.


My Very Best to You in Addressing Your Family Law Issues,

Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall aka "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."®


Serving Rhode Island Families exclusively in the Rhode Island Family Courts throughout our State for more than 12 years.

Call (401) 632-6976 for your low-cost paid advise session to make sure you know your rights.