How to File Online Divorce Papers in Rhode Island | Do It Yourself

How to File Online Divorce Papers in Rhode Island | Do It Yourself

The decision to get a divorce is always tough for a couple. All the necessary preparations can cause stress and anxiety, making the process even more daunting. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the ways to make divorce less stressful.

Online divorce is becoming more and more popular among couples wanting to avoid additional stress because it is a great option to make the divorce process inexpensive and fast. This article will explain how to file online divorce papers in Rhode Island without an attorney.

Some Basic Terms and Information

Filing for divorce in the state of Rhode Island is not that complicated. However, there are some things that partners need to know to avoid unnecessary problems and mistakes.

At least one of the partners has to meet Rhode Island’s residency requirements. The divorce process can be initiated if one of the spouses has resided within the state for a minimum of one year.

Rhode Island is a no-fault state. It refers to a type of divorce where the filing spouse does not have to provide evidence of their partner’s misconduct. The court will accept “irreparable breakdown of marriage due to irreconcilable differences” as a valid reason to begin the process.

There is also a list of fault-based grounds for divorce in Rhode Island:

  • Adultery;
  • Impotence;
  • Gross neglect;
  • Bigamy;
  • Cruelty towards partner and/or minor children;
  • Wilful abandonment or the partner is presumed dead;
  • Drug addiction or alcohol abuse; and
  • Wilful desertion for a minimum of 5 years (this time requirement can be reduced if the judge decides so).

If you are a resident of Rhode Island, your divorce can be either uncontested or contested. Divorce becomes contested if partners can’t agree on any important matter, such as alimony (also known as spousal support), property division, child custody, etc. Getting a divorce this way is more complicated than its alternative.

If spouses do not have disagreements or settle them before the case goes to court, the divorce is uncontested. Most couples prefer this scenario as it is easier. You can make it even less stressful if you use online divorce services.

Online Divorce Explained

Even if the divorce is uncontested, couples often hire a lawyer to do the paperwork. However, it can substantially increase the cost of the divorce as attorney services are not cheap. Your uncontested divorce might cost $4,000-$8,000! But there’s no need to panic because you have an alternative.

If you have decided to go with a DIY divorce, you can take care of paperwork even without an attorney. Online divorce companies can assist you with preparing divorce papers for a reasonable price by providing you with the necessary tools. You can fill out and generate documents yourself, making your divorce far more affordable.

Uncontested Do-It-Yourself Divorce Step By Step

Let’s look at how to file online divorce papers in Rhode Island.

Prepare the Papers

It is possible to pick up all the required divorce forms directly from your local county court. The next step is to fill them out and present them to the court to begin the divorce process. You can try doing it yourself but be attentive to avoid mistakes, or the court will dismiss the papers.

To reduce this risk to a minimum, find an online divorce service and use the provided tools to fill out the required papers and print them. Online divorce company will give you a list of required documents for your particular case.

File the Papers

The next step is filing for divorce. You will have to file a “Complaint and Verification” form (the main document) and some other papers. Submit your completed documents to the county court.  

Filing is not free, and you, as a petitioner, will have to pay filing fees. However, if your financial situation does not allow it, you can request a waiver.

You will receive a “Summons” form after filing papers to the court. It is a document that includes all the case details that must be served to your partner along with the other forms.

Serve the Papers

After filing the papers, you must serve them to your partner, the respondent. Rhode Island law provides a petitioner with several ways to deliver documents to their spouse:

  • Hire a sheriff from the county where the partner lives to deliver the papers;
  • Hire an authorized constable to deliver the papers.

After serving the respondent, either the sheriff or constable provides the petitioner with an “Answer” form. This document must be filed with the court as proof that the papers have been served according to the law.

The Court Hearing

The petitioner prepares additional financial documents and files them to the court. At this point, the court assigns a date for a formal hearing that’s usually 70 days after filing the papers.

Both partners have to appear in court on the formal hearing date. They also need to bring one witness to confirm they have met residency requirements and their marriage is broken due to irreconcilable differences. If one of the parties does not appear to the court, the other partner needs to bring two witnesses.

Official Divorce

The judge reviews the documents and asks some questions. After identifying that both spouses have no disputes and agree on all terms and conditions, the judge finalizes the divorce. However, there is a 90-day waiting period before the decision becomes official.

Final Thoughts

Getting an uncontested divorce in Rhode Island is rather simple. The procedure is straightforward, with the only complication being the paperwork. Nonetheless, there are ways to overcome this problem. Online divorce companies can make the whole process quick and affordable.