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Rhode Island Supreme Court upholds Family Court divorce decision against absent husband


The Rhode Island Supreme Court upheld a Family Court divorce decision granted in favor of a West Warwick woman whose husband resided in France and refused to appear at trial. The Family Court restrained the husband from filing a subsequent divorce proceeding in France.

Despite the order, the husband filed for divorce in France while the Rhode Island proceeding was pending. The Family Court judge sanctioned him, found him in contempt of court and awarded his wife considerable attorney's fees. The Supreme Court indicated that "We are hard-pressed to envision a clearer or more brazen case of contemptuous conduct, and we note it is consistent with Patrick's course of conduct throughout the proceedings in Family Court." The wife was also awarded three years of alimony and a division of the parties' local and foreign assets.

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