Step 3: contested or uncontested?
Contested Divorce (High Costs)
If by the date of the nominal hearing, your spouse and you have been unable to agree on all the terms of the divorce, then your case will become a contested one and a date will be assigned for a status or case management conference. In this meeting, the lawyers will meet the judge and explain the various issues that have not been decided, for which the judge may give his/her suggestions.
The date will then be set for the pre-trial conference and the lawyers will document all the issues and prepare the paperwork with details of the facts that both spouses plan to prove in the court, the witnesses’ names, etc.
If you do not reach an agreement on the various issues with your spouse, then the divorce case will go to trial and both the spouses must then present their witnesses and evidence to support their case and then the judge will issue his/her decision.
Uncontested Divorce (Low Costs)
In the case of an uncontested divorce, both parties agree to end their marriage and also agree on how the various issues related to the divorce such as property division and alimony will be resolved.
In Rhode Island, the easiest way in which you can get an uncontested divorce is a no-fault divorce, where you tell the court that your spouse and you agree on all the terms of the divorce and also the reason for the divorce.
A no-fault divorce is when one of the parties claims that there are “irreconcilable differences” which are beyond repair. Even if one of the spouses, or both, are at fault and the cause of these differences, the court does not consider the fault. And, avoiding claims that a spouse is at fault actually can simplify the process of divorce.
In an uncontested divorce, both spouses should resolve all the financial issues before the final divorce is granted by the court. Issues such as property division or alimony cannot be brought to the court after the divorce becomes final and both spouses lose the right to make any claims.