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Factors Impacting Spousal Support in Rhode Island


How Spousal Support Is Determined in Rhode Island

There are many different variables that could impact an alimony or spousal support order. In a Rhode Island divorce, some individuals may qualify for spousal support and others may not according to the circumstances at hand and the type of spousal support requested. As spousal support is a rehabilitative tool intended to provide temporary support until a spouse is considered self-sufficient, it exists on a need basis.

To best understand how spousal support is determined in the state of Rhode Island, it would benefit you to learn more about the various forms of spousal support first.

Types of Spousal Support

A judge may award one of the following types of spousal support:

  • Rehabilitative
  • Permanent

If you are concerned about your financial wellbeing while going through a divorce, you can petition the court for temporary spousal support. Temporary spousal support is the most common type of spousal support in the state, and will continue for the duration of the divorce and end when the judge finalizes it.

Spousal support after a divorce is finalized is known as alimony and may be awarded by the Court on a “rehabilitative” basis for a finite period of time. The purpose of this form of support is to allow the supported spouse the time necessary to find employment, go back to school, or acquire the skills to enter or re-enter the workforce. Rehabilitative alimony is generally awarded for only so long as needed for the recipient to become self-supporting.

Permanent support is only granted under special circumstances where the supported spouse cannot become self-sufficient after the divorce due to a disability, decline in health, advanced age, or a prolonged absence from the job market.

Factors Used to Calculate Spousal Support

If you can demonstrate a substantial need for spousal support and the supporting spouse can afford to make payments, the court may then determine the type of duration of spousal support. The court will refer to the following factors to do so:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage
  • Each spouse’s health, age, occupation, and employability
  • The accustomed standard of living created during the marriage
  • The needs of each spouse
  • The paying spouse’s ability to pay support
  • The amount of time a spouse was absent from the workforce
  • Whether the supported spouse has a condition which makes it difficult to seek employment
  • The time, money, and experience necessary for the supported spouse to obtain an education or training to gain skills and find employment
  • Any other factors the court finds to be just and proper

The judge has broad discretion when evaluating a request for support, meaning it is up to the court to define what constitutes a fair spousal support order.

If You Need Experienced Representation, Call McIntyre Tate, LLP

With over 30 years of experience, our team of family law attorneys have guided couples through the process of obtaining spousal support for years. Whether you are seeking support, wish to modify your support order, or need to enforce your order, turn to the team at McIntyre Tate LLP for professionalism and experienced representation.

Contact our office online or call us directly at (401) 351-7700 to schedule a case evaluation.