This is the second part of a two-part series on the Rhode Island divorce process, including divorce strategy. The first part, about the initial stages of a divorce, from finding a Rhode Island attorney to filing for divorce. See below for a link to the first part of this series.
This article looks at divorce strategy and the divorce process after filing for divorce. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is a very bad idea for a person to represent themselves in a Rhode Island divorce without an attorney.
Nominal or disputed track
When a divorce is filed in Rhode Island, the case is placed on one of two tracks, the disputed track or the nominal track. The plaintiff in his initial divorce filing designates the lead he wants. The vast majority of divorces filed in Rhode Island are placed on the nominal divorce route. A designation in the “nominal route” does not necessarily mean that the divorce will be uncontested. It usually means that the party who filed the application believes that the case can be resolved relatively quickly or wants the divorce to be resolved relatively quickly.
Response to the divorce complaint
The defendant must file an answer to the divorce within 20 days of service and absolutely before the nominal court date or any date of the motion. If the Defendant does not respond to the case, it is subject to default. A default is when the defendant does not respond to the case in a timely manner and the plaintiff will generally get all the relief they request.
If the case is put on the nominal track, the clerk will automatically set up a nominal divorce hearing when the plaintiff files for divorce. This hearing will generally be scheduled between 65 and 70 days after the plaintiff files it. In the event that the divorce is not resolved before the nominal date of the divorce, the case will automatically be changed to the disputed avenue.
If the matter is not resolved before the nominal court date and both parties want to try to resolve the remaining issues in court and believe that the remaining issues can be resolved, then the parties may attempt to resolve the case in the hallway or on the conference rooms. in court and present the case as a nominal divorce uncontested on that date.
If the defendant has not filed an answer, it is dangerous for the defendant not to appear in court on the nominal court date based on the statements made by the other party.
There have been many occasions when a souse has assured the other party that there is no need to appear in court and there is no need to file an answer and the defendant defaults and the other spouse gets 100 percent of the assets of the marriage.
On the date of the nominal divorce hearing, on the calendar call, the case will be nominally ready or the parties will ask the judge to carry out the case so that they can try to resolve the remaining issues. If the parties are unable to resolve the remaining issues, they will inform the court clerk or judge that the case cannot be resolved and that the case path will be changed to the contested divorce path. If the track of the case is changed, there will be no hearing on that date and the court will inform the parties of the next pretrial conference date.
If the parties ask the clerk to hold the matter, they will generally have a considerable amount of time to negotiate the remaining issues in the aisle. By resolving all remaining family law issues that may include property division issues, child support, child custody, child visitation, alimony, contempt issues, restraining order issues, etc., the clerk should be informed that the case is now nominally ready. At that time, the clerk and judge will put you back on the list of cases ready for the roll call.
Pursuant to Rhode Island General Law, a divorce cannot be resolved without a nominal divorce hearing. At the nominal divorce hearing, certain testimony must be obtained for the divorce to be granted. In some circumstances, it is necessary to have witnesses to testify briefly. If you don’t have the required witness, your case could be delayed or even dismissed and you could waste time going to court.
Most Rhode Island divorce and family law attorneys have held these nominal hearings hundreds of times. It is a very bad idea for a person to represent themselves in a divorce! As the old adage goes, a person representing himself has a fool for a lawyer. Since everything you have worked so hard for is at stake, it is foolish to go through the Rhode Island divorce process without a Rhode Island divorce and family law attorney.
If the case was originally placed on the disputed follow-up calendar, then the clerk did not schedule any automatic short name dates. If the case is later resolved, the parties may ask the clerk for permission to attend the nominal divorce hearing on a specified date. Otherwise, the parties can wait for the motion date or the pre-trial date to hold the nominal divorce hearing.
Discovery in RI Divorce
After the divorce is filed, the plaintiff or defendant may, at their option, proceed with “discovery.” Discovery in general is the process by which the parties obtain information or admissions from the other party. Discovery is most important and perhaps crucial in a case where a spouse is unaware of the nature and extent of the property and marital estate. Discovery can also be helpful in obtaining documents or other tangible evidence that is needed for a settlement or trial.
The Rhode Island discovery process can also be used to obtain admissions for certain charges. While it is unethical and perhaps immoral for a person to lie about an affair or infidelity with their spouse, it is not illegal or criminal for a person to lie to their spouse about an affair. If a person lies under oath, either in testimony or in a document written under oath, they may be committing the crime of perjury.
Additionally, if a judge believes that one of the parties is lying under oath, there could be severe penalties and penalties, including a referral to the attorney general for prosecution. However, in reality, most incidents of lying in family court are not prosecuted as crimes. Many attorneys use the request for admission or interrogation to force the other party to testify under oath whether or not they had an affair and the scope and details related to the extramarital affair / cheating / infidelity.
There are several discovery mechanisms that can be used: interrogations, request for production of documents, request for admissions, statements, subpoena duces tecum, subpoenas, etc.
Interrogations are written questions that one party can send to the other party. Each side is allowed up to 32 interrogations. Interrogations can be helpful in obtaining lists of assets, allegations your spouse will make, or other useful information. This requested information can range from child support to marital infidelity and may include: child custody issues, child visitation, drug and alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, alimony, health insurance issues, real estate, estate planning and trust issues, personal injury claims, domestic violence / restraining orders, criminal records, asset valuation, mental health history, and any Rhode Island family law issues.
Interrogations must be answered within the time frame established by the Rhode Island National Court Rules. Interrogations are usually partially written and also reviewed by your husband or wife’s attorney. Therefore, while it is a valuable tool, there are some limitations to the usefulness of the information received.
Application for admissions
Applications for admission, when used properly, can be a powerful discovery tool in an RI divorce. Admission requests are written requests generally prepared by the attorney, which the other party must respond to within a short period of time. If the party does not respond to the request for admission within the applicable time, the accusation will be considered admitted.
A deposition is when one of the parties, usually through their attorney, can ask their spouse questions under oath in front of a court reporter. In Rhode Island Family Court, a party must obtain permission or permission from the court in order to take a deposition. Motions to take the deposition of the other party are almost always granted by family court judges. Bowel movements are powerful but expensive discovery tools. A deposition is often effective because the attorney can ask questions of the other party face to face. The attorney can ask follow-up questions and can ask questions in different ways. This is particularly effective if one of the parties is evasive or less communicative. The other attorney can do little to help clients answer questions during a deposition.
Deposits are very expensive because the court reporter’s transcript could cost several hundred dollars. In addition, the attorney conducting the deposition may need several hours to prepare for the deposition. In addition, both attorneys will be required to attend the deposition, which could take several hours. Statements are often better ways of obtaining information on sensitive topics than interrogations.
Document production request
The document production request is a list of requested documents that must be responded to within the applicable time period. I find this discovery tool particularly successful in obtaining documents and records related to: pension plan documents, 401k records, retirement accounts, employment documents, salary documents, health insurance records, stock accounts, documents estate planning, bank statements, real estate documents, etc. .
A Duces Tecum subpoena can be very effective in obtaining third-party documents such as bank records, share records, employment and wage records, and other documents.
The third part of this upcoming three-part series deals with preparing for a divorce trial, the actual divorce trial, and entering the Final Judgment.