The Answers You Need for the Questions You’re Forced to Ask

One of the worst aspects of pursuing a case—whether you’re fighting for injury compensation or trying to settle a divorce—is not knowing what to expect. Before you get yourself knee deep in the details of your case allow us to answer some of your questions first. We’ll help you be more fully prepared and more confident as you move forward.

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  • What should I expect during my first meeting with a divorce lawyer?

    The dissolution of a marriage can be overwhelming, so it’s no surprise that many people delay consulting with a divorce lawyer for weeks (or even months) after they have decided to end their marriage. However, this consultation is a vital first step in the process, and it’s helpful to know what will happen during the first meeting with a divorce attorney. Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer Kirshenbaum and Kirshenbaum

    What Happens at Your First Meeting With a Divorce Lawyer

    The first thing you should expect in our offices is compassion for what you are going through. As experienced Rhode Island divorce attorneys, we know how stressful this time can be for our clients. You should not be afraid to show your emotions, share your feelings and fears, or be honest about your priorities.

    Your first meeting with us is an opportunity to:

    Ask questions.

    Your questions will be specific to your case, but we commonly hear questions such as: How does the divorce process work? Could I get alimony? Can we divorce through mediation? How much does a divorce cost? You should bring a list of questions to ask, and be prepared to take notes when the attorney responds or makes suggestions.

    Answer questions.

    We will ask a variety of personal but necessary questions, including inquiries about your living situation, children, house, occupation, finances, and any property or investments you own. The more you share with us, the better we can advise you of your legal options.

    Learn your next steps.

    At the end of the meeting, we will outline the steps you need to take as you prepare to separate from your spouse. If you choose to retain us, we will also explain what you can expect from us throughout your divorce proceedings.

    Do You Need To Speak To A Rhode Island Divorce Attorney?

    If you are considering a divorce you need to speak with an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cranston office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help divorce clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.

     

  • How can I give my best testimony at a divorce deposition?

    Most divorce proceedings are resolved without trial, but spouses headed to the courtroom will have to undergo a discovery process to gather evidence that could benefit their cases. Part of this process involves giving sworn testimony outside of the courtroom, known as a deposition. Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers

    How to Give Your Best Testimony in a Divorce Deposition

    As experienced Rhode Island divorce attorneys, we have conducted our share of divorce depositions. We know how important it is for divorcing spouses to give their best testimony in their depositions to achieve their goals for separation.

    On the day of your deposition, it is vital that you:

    Tell the truth.

    If you are caught in a lie, your spouse may be able to discredit you and attack your credibility on other points. Be honest in your responses, and do not attempt to guess at an answer if you aren’t sure. It is always ok to say you don’t know the answer or don’t remember.

    Keep answers short.

    You must answer direct questions put to you by the opposing attorney. However, you do not have to offer additional information, and doing so could help your spouse’s case.

    Stay calm.

    An opposing attorney may ask about your mental and physical health, your income, your lifestyle choices, and other factors. In custody battles, these may be pointed questions intended to portray you as an unsupportive parent. If you suspect the other attorney is trying to upset or provoke you, do not respond. Your attorney can intercede on your behalf or ask for a break if you are being treated unfairly.

    Do not make jokes.

    Some people attempt a joke during depositions in order to make themselves more relatable or simply because they are nervous. However, these jokes may not translate well when they are read back on the transcript and may be seen as flippant or disrespectful.

    Do You Need To Speak To A Rhode Island Divorce Attorney?

    If you are considering a divorce you need to speak with an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cranston office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help divorce clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.

     

  • Where should we file for divorce if my spouse and I currently live in different states?

    The road to divorce is not always straightforward. Some spouses decide to separate while still living together, but others will enter divorce proceedings after years of living apart—sometimes after one spouse has moved to a different state. Divorces involving spouses living in different states are often more complicated than those filed by spouses who live in the same community. RI Divorce Lawyers

    How to Determine Which Court Has Jurisdiction Over Your Divorce

    Couples can only file for a divorce in the state and county that has jurisdiction to hear the case. However, you do not necessarily have to file in the state that issued your marriage license or even the one in which you currently live. The jurisdiction for your divorce case will depend on both spouses’ locations and how long each one has lived there.

    While the divorce process is much the same in every state, the specific rules and requirements vary depending on the jurisdiction. For example, you may be compelled to file your divorce in a specific state if:

    You do not meet residency requirements.

    Each state has a minimum length of time that a spouse must live there before he or she can get a divorce in the state. Usually, only one spouse will need to meet the residency requirement, and that spouse will have to file the paperwork for the divorce to be heard. If you move to Rhode Island and do not meet the residency requirement, you may only be eligible to file in the state where you and your spouse cohabitated.

    Your spouse is first to file.

    If two different states are eligible to have jurisdiction over a marriage, the state that takes jurisdiction will be the state where a divorce petition is first filed. This could give the filing spouse an advantage in a contested divorce, since he or she will not have to travel as far to participate in hearings and the trial. The out-of-state spouse may also have to hire an attorney in the state where the divorce is pending instead of using an attorney from his or her home state.

    Your children live in another state.

    If your children attend school in the state where your spouse lives and your spouse meets residency requirements, filing in your spouse’s state may be less stressful for the children. However, you should understand the state’s requirements regarding child support, child custody agreements, and spousal support.

    Do You Need To Speak To A Rhode Island Divorce Attorney?

    If you are considering a divorce you need to speak with an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cranston office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help divorce clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.

     

  • What should I do after being served with divorce papers?

    Being served with divorce papers can be highly stressful, especially if you weren’t expecting it. It’s important to understand how you can respond to a petition for divorce in a productive way. ​

    Responding to a Rhode Island Divorce Petition

    People are often hurt or confused when served with divorce papers because those papers are delivered by someone other than the spouse. However, this is not necessarily a reflection of your spouse’s feelings toward you. Rhode Island law requires divorce papers to be served by a local sheriff, private constable, or other acceptable third party. This person will record your receipt of the documents, starting the “clock” on the time you have to respond.

    Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer

    After you have been served with divorce papers, you should:

    Accept the documents.

    It is never a good idea to refuse service of divorce papers. The person serving the paperwork is merely delivering copies of a complaint that has already been filed with the court, so it will not stop the legal process from continuing. In addition, refusing can result in a default judgment against you, meaning your spouse will get everything he has asked for in the petition. The best response is to accept the divorce petition, and prepare your response.

    Read through the paperwork.

    You will be given several different documents, including the legal complaint, a summons, and the petition for dissolution of marriage. Read through the papers carefully, so you understand the demands your partner is making, particularly with regard to shared finances, custody, and alimony.

    Speak to an attorney.

    If you have received divorce paperwork, your spouse has already prepared the divorce petition and financial documents, filed with the court, and, very likely, hired his own attorney. Your own attorney will go through the petition with you, prepare a response that addresses each spouse’s demands, and make sure that your response is filed by the deadline.

    Do You Need To Speak To A Rhode Island Divorce Attorney?

    If you are considering a divorce you need to speak with an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cranston office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help divorce clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.

     

  • If I live in Rhode Island, does it matter where I file for divorce?

    There are two considerations when it comes to choosing where to file for divorce: where each spouse lives and which spouse will be requesting the divorce. If you are seeking a no-fault divorce on the grounds that you and your spouse have been living separate and apart for at least three years, at least one of you must meet Rhode Island residency requirements in order for the divorce to be legal. Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer

    Where to File a Divorce Complaint in Rhode Island

    If you could potentially file in two different counties, it is a good idea to consult with a divorce attorney before you complete and serve the paperwork. Each county is allowed to make its own rules about how divorce cases are handled, and each jurisdiction will have its own backlog of cases that could mean longer wait times for you and your spouse. An experienced attorney can tell you if there are any advantages or disadvantages for filing in each county, as well as what to expect after you file.

    As a Rhode Island resident, you could potentially file a divorce complaint in:

    The county where you live.

    Your home county is the county of your primary residence. If you have more than one residence, the court will consider your primary residence to be the address on your driver’s license and car registration.

    The county where your spouse lives.

    Your spouse may file for divorce in the county where he resides, if he meets this domicile requirement.

    Providence County.

    If your spouse meets the domicile requirement but you do not, you may file with the Family Court in Providence County. However, your spouse must actually be served with the Summons and Complaint for Divorce in order to meet jurisdictional requirements.

    Do You Need To Speak To A Rhode Island Divorce Attorney?

    If you are considering a divorce you need to speak with an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cranston office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help divorce clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.

     

  • What are the residency requirements when filing for divorce in RI?

    Many people believe they must file for divorce in the state where they were married. While this is not true, there are location and time requirements that apply to every couple filing for divorce. If these requirements are not met, the divorce case may be dismissed. Rhode Island Divorce Attorney

    RI Residency Requirements for Divorcing Spouses

    Under Rhode Island law, no complaint for divorce will be granted unless the petitioner has lived in Rhode Island for a period of one year before filing. After residency is established, the divorce must be filed in the county in which the filing petitioner resides.

    If you have not lived in Rhode Island for at least one year, you have a few options:

    Have your spouse file.

    If you are on good terms with your spouse and your spouse has been living in Rhode Island longer than you have, he may meet the necessary residency requirements and can file the paperwork instead.

    File in another state.

    Each state creates its own period of residency for divorce proceedings. If you and your spouse have recently moved from a different state, you may qualify for divorce under that state’s laws.

    Wait.

    If neither you nor your spouse have lived in Rhode Island for at least one year and do not qualify for divorce in another state, you will have to wait until residency has been established before a complaint can be filed. However, you may begin the process of filling out your documents and paperwork while you are waiting through a period of residency.

    Do You Need To Speak To A Rhode Island Divorce Attorney?

    If you are considering a divorce you need to speak with an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cranston office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help divorce clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.

     

  • How do I change my name after a divorce?

    Women undergoing divorce proceedings must choose whether to keep a former spouse’s last name or revert back to a maiden name. While it is up to each individual to choose the name she prefers, there are factors that can influence the decision, including the length of the marriage and whether or not there are children who share the former spouse’s surname. If you have decided to change your name, there are a few things you need to know in order to make the change permanent and legal. Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer

    Going Through the Legal Name Change Process After a Divorce

    In Rhode Island, spouses can revert back to a former name as part of the divorce proceeding. It must be specifically stated in the divorce decree that you wish to change back to the name you held before marriage (the name stated on your birth certificate).

    Once you have obtained a copy of the divorce decree ordering your name change, you will need to update your:

    Primary identification.

    The first step toward changing your name is to take the divorce decree and your birth certificate to your local Social Security (SS) office to obtain a new SS card. Once your SS card is updated, you may visit your local DMV office with your current RI driver’s license and proof of name change (your new SS card) and apply for a new license. Once a driver’s license in the new name has been issued, the license may be used as a primary ID to obtain a new passport.

    Legal identification.

    You will need to update your name on any legal documents, including your will, deeds or trusts, and property titles. You should also update your name on your voter registration card if you plan to vote in any upcoming elections.

    Address and account identification.

    It is your responsibility to update your legal name with the post office, your bank, and anywhere your name is used. You may need to submit a name change form to ensure that your taxes, car title and registration, bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts and 401K, investment accounts, mortgages, employment records, insurance policies, and medical records use your correct name. While you are changing your name on these accounts, you may want to change your beneficiary designations, so your ex-spouse does not inherit your assets if you want them to go to someone else.

    Child’s identification.

    If you wish to change your children’s names along with your own, this will have to be done through the family court system. However, a minor name change petition will only be approved if both parents have given consent.

    Do You Need To Speak To A Rhode Island Divorce Attorney?

    If you are considering a divorce you need to speak with an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cranston office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help divorce clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.

     

  • What if my spouse does not show up to divorce court?

    If you and your spouse are seeking an uncontested divorce, you may not need your spouse to appear in court. As long as you agree on how to resolve all issues related to the marriage (such as custody arrangements, alimony, and division of property) and meet the requirements of a Rhode Island no-fault divorce, the court does not require both spouses to be present in order to grant a divorce. Rhode Island Divorce Attorney

    Proceeding With a Divorce If a Spouse Refuses to Appear in Court

    Once paperwork is filed, a court hearing date will be set. If only one spouses appears at the hearing, the divorce may proceed as a “default divorce,” meaning the judge may grant the divorce based on the testimony of the spouse that is present.

    In order to proceed with a default divorce, you must ensure that:

    Your spouse was properly notified.

    If you are the person who requested the divorce, the burden is on you to ensure that filing deadlines are met and your spouse has had every opportunity to participate in the process. This includes filing divorce papers with the family court clerk, serving the divorce papers on your spouse through the sheriff’s office, and filing a copy of the delivery form with the clerk's office to prove that your spouse received a notice of the proceeding. If you have proof that your spouse received the papers, you can proceed with the divorce even if your spouse did not submit a reply.

    You have witnesses to testify on your behalf.

    You will need to bring at least two witnesses to your hearing who can testify that you have lived in Rhode Island for at least one year and can offer insight as to the reason for the dissolution of the marriage. In particular, the judge may want to know how long you and your spouse have been separated and if you’re still living together.

    All marital property and financial issues have been resolved.

    Once a divorce order is granted, neither spouse can bring property distribution or alimony cases in the future. For this reason, it is best to consult with a divorce attorney to ensure that you will receive a fair portion of shared assets, debts, and property.

    Do You Need To Speak To A Rhode Island Divorce Attorney?

    If you are considering a divorce you need to speak with an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cranston office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help divorce clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.

     

  • Aside from my estate plan, are there other legal documents I need to update after my divorce?

    Once your divorce is finalized, you may believe all of your financial interactions with your spouse are finally settled. However, this may not be true if you have not removed your former spouse as a beneficiary on your individual accounts. Even if you have updated your will to exclude your former spouse, he may still receive some or all of your benefits if you have not named a new beneficiary for each plan or policy where his name appears. Rhode Island Divorce Attorney

    Accounts and Legal Documents to Update After a Divorce

    Your attorney should perform a full investigation of your accounts and holdings to ensure that all of your assets have the correct beneficiary designations. In most cases, beneficiary designations will supersede what is written in a will—even if you named your spouse as a beneficiary decades before your death.

    In addition to updating your estate plan after a divorce, you should also consider changing the beneficiary designations on your existing accounts, including:

    Healthcare plans.

    The beneficiary of a healthcare policy is a separate designation from a healthcare power of attorney. It is vital to consider whether an ex-spouse will continue to benefit from a shared health plan, particularly if the ex-spouse cares for children who are also covered under the plan.

    Pensions and life insurance.

    Under federal law, spouses are the automatic beneficiaries of 401k accounts. If the policyholder wants to name an alternative beneficiary, she will need a signed waiver from the spouse. Some divorce agreements may require that divorcing spouses keep each other as beneficiaries on certain accounts as a way of protecting their children or dividing assets fairly.

    Retirement accounts.

    The requirements for changing beneficiaries on retirement accounts such as IRAs can be complicated, especially if the policyholder changes the designation before the divorce is final.

    Bank accounts.

    A named beneficiary on checking and savings accounts, mutual funds, CDs, and annuities will have automatic access to funds after your death, so it is vital that you designate the correct person.

    Do You Need To Speak To A Rhode Island Divorce Attorney?

    If you are considering a divorce you need to speak with an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cranston office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help divorce clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.

     

  • Do I need an attorney for an uncontested divorce?

    If you and your spouse agree to end your marriage, you may file an uncontested or no-fault divorce in Rhode Island. For the court to grant your uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must agree on every aspect of your divorce agreement. However, many people seeking uncontested divorces in Rhode Island still benefit from legal counsel. Lawyers for an uncontested divorce Rhode Island

    Four Reasons to Consult an Attorney

    Even if you and your spouse agree to end your marriage, there may be some necessary negotiations about how to divide your property, how to share custody of your children, whether alimony will be provided, and whether child support will be provided. An experienced divorce attorney can:

    • Advise you of every option, so you’re confident in the decisions you make
    • Make sure that all of your legal rights are protected before you sign a legally binding divorce agreement
    • Prevent you from making mistakes or creating unnecessary delays in your divorce proceedings by making sure all of the paperwork is filed correctly and on time
    • Take the stress out of negotiating directly with your spouse by handling negotiations on your behalf

    How to Get an Uncontested Divorce in RI

    Rhode Island does not have a special procedure for getting an uncontested divorce. Generally, you will need to file for divorce claiming irreconcilable differences, and you will need to explain to the court that both you and your spouse agree on the reason for the divorce and the specific terms of your divorce.

    The divorce process will start when one spouse files for divorce at the clerk’s office at the local court. The other spouse will then have the opportunity to answer the divorce complaint. Then, the court will set a hearing date. You typically must bring witnesses to this hearing who will testify that you have been a Rhode Island resident for at least a year and know that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences. After the hearing, additional forms must be submitted to the court. Once everything has been approved, you will be divorced.

    Do You Need To Speak To A Rhode Island Divorce Attorney?

    If you are considering a divorce you need to speak with an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cranston office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help divorce clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.