(For your convenience, I have prepared this list of “dos and don’ts after divorce” that apply to divorce in Rhode Island. Some may apply to your situation, but many will not. Please take a few minutes to read this. If you For any questions regarding this article or for any legal assistance, please contact a Rhode Island Divorce Attorney) Artilce by David Slepkow 401-437-1100
Accurately document child support, alimony, or other property settlement payments. Accurate records are important for proof of payment if there is a dispute as to whether you paid.
If you have a property settlement agreement in your case, any changes to the property settlement agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.
If you do not have a property settlement agreement, your case will only have a final judgment, and you can only apply to the court to change the final judgment if the circumstances have changed substantially.
If there is a dispute over your child’s visitation, keep accurate records of your visitation dates, times, activities and/or conflicts with your ex-spouse.
If your ex-spouse is on ‘benefit’ (afdc benefit) then don’t pay her or him directly! You must pay Rhode Island. If your ex-spouse receives benefits and you make payments directly to her/him, those payments are considered gifts. Rhode Island (RI) will still go after you for child support even though you paid your ex-spouse directly. This means you will have to pay double child support.
The property disposal agreement shall not be amended by oral agreement. All changes to a property settlement agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.
Do not pay alimony or child support in cash without a signed receipt from the ex-spouse.
If you make payments directly to your child or buy anything for your child, those payments are considered gifts to your child and do not count toward child support. Therefore, if you want these types of payments to be considered child support, they must be paid directly to your spouse as child support.
If your case has a restraining order or no contact order, do not contact your ex-spouse until the restraining order is removed. Even if your ex-spouse reaches out or invites you over, you could still be arrested for violating a restraining order. Communication of any kind, including email, letters, faxes or voicemail messages, is a violation of the restraining order. Do not rely on your ex-spouse to insist that the restraining order has been dismissed. You will need to verify with the Rhode Island Family Court Clerk that the restraining order has been lifted.
If your circumstances change, consider filing a motion to modify alimony immediately. This only applies if alimony is modifiable. If the final judgment includes a property settlement agreement that states that the alimony is non-changeable, the alimony is non-changeable. If there is no property settlement and alimony award in your case, alimony may be revised if circumstances change significantly. Significant changes in circumstances may be loss of income, unemployment or disability, among others.
A. Child support
Child support does not automatically end when your child turns eighteen (18). Child support will accrue automatically unless a motion to terminate child support is filed.
If you are the parent of a child and your income has decreased significantly or your ex-spouse’s income has increased significantly, then you should contact an attorney to file a motion for increased child support.
If you are the parent who did not physically place the child and your income has dropped significantly or your ex-spouse’s income has increased significantly, then you should contact an attorney to file a motion for reduced child support obligations. If you are unable to pay child support due to a change in circumstances, you need to file a motion to modify child support immediately or you could be subject to contempt of court proceedings for failure to pay child support.
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