Many spouses want to know how long it will take to be officially divorced after filing. In Rhode Island, an uncontested divorce may be granted in as little as 75 days—and some divorces may be granted even sooner if they qualify for expedited processing. However, wait times are often longer if the court imposes a waiting period, the parties cannot agree, or there are other complexities.
Factors That Can Affect the Timeline of a Rhode Island Divorce
The biggest factor that will impact the length of a divorce is whether the separation is contested or not. The Rhode Island Family Court allows uncontested divorces to receive a hearing approximately 75 days after papers are filed. If both parties agree that there is no chance of a reconciliation and sign a waiver requesting expedited treatment, the court may grant a divorce immediately.
The amount of time it takes for a Rhode Island divorce to be finalized depends on:
- If you require a temporary court order. Some spouses need a temporary court order to establish which spouse will live in the house, which spouse will have custody, and other terms of the separation. Temporary hearings on these matters are usually scheduled about five weeks after filing.
- The length of the waiting period. Divorces do not become final until after the expiration of the mandatory waiting period that starts after the first hearing. Divorces granted on the grounds of "irreconcilable differences" have a 90-day waiting period before they are final, while "separate and apart” divorces have a 21-day waiting period.
- How long you and your spouse have lived apart. If you and your spouse have been living separately for three years or more, the court may waive the waiting period.
- If the case goes to trial. Only divorces where both spouses agree on all of the terms of the divorce will qualify for expedited treatment. If you and your spouse are not in agreement by the hearing date, your case will be classified as a "contested divorce," and you will be given a date to meet for status conference. At the conference, the spouses, their attorneys, and the judge will meet to settle the unresolved issues. Once the parties agree, the judge will schedule the divorce hearing. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the case will go to trial, and the divorce can last for several months or even a year.
Our family law attorneys can advise you on your best options and ensure you settle your divorce in the most beneficial manner. Contact Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum via our online form to learn more about your options.