In Rhode Island, alimony entails payments for “support or maintenance” of either spouse following divorce. It is separate from any payments made for child support based upon the child custody situation. It is generally awarded for a “reasonable length of time” to enable the recipient spouse to become self-supporting.

How Do You Qualify for Alimony?

Either spouse can obtain alimony. In determining alimony, the court looks at factors deemed fair and appropriate. These include but are not limited to duration of the marriage, conduct of the spouses while married, health, age, occupation and skills, income, standard of living during the marriage, debts, and whether the spouse being asked to pay alimony can afford to do so.

The court will also take into consideration the financial situation of a spouse who has custody of a child, and whether it is difficult for that spouse to seek full-time employment. Another factor the court looks at is whether either spouse lacks employability and earning capacity due to marital duties, such as being a homemaker, which caused that spouse to be out of the workforce. In deciding the terms of support, the court will consider how long it will take for that spouse to acquire the necessary education and training, and whether current age and skills will have an impact on the spouse’s ability to becomes self-supporting. 

How Much Alimony Can You Receive?

Rhode Island’s laws regarding alimony do not place a limitation on the amount of alimony a spouse can receive. Rather, the court will determine an amount based on the foregoing factors. It is important to hire a lawyer who can help you obtain a fair and reasonable amount, as the court has a number of factors to assess in calculating alimony.

While there is no cap in Rhode Island, alimony awards in the U.S. can run upwards of $1.3 million per year. Thus, whether you are asking for support, or think you will need to pay it, you can protect your future financial situation by hiring a lawyer.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

An award of alimony can last indefinitely. The law in Rhode Island provides that the duration of alimony must last for a “reasonable length of time” to allow the recipient spouse to become self-supporting. It terminates automatically if the recipient spouse remarries.

How Do You Petition for Alimony?

A lawyer can help you during the difficult time of divorce by making sure you do not inadvertently waive your right to alimony. The court will not know you need spousal support unless you ask. A lawyer will help you petition for alimony in the beginning—with your divorce papers.

Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?

The issue of alimony is a highly contentious, variable area of divorce. It is crucial to protect yourself, as well as your current and future financial situation. If you are considering filing for divorce, or have been served with divorce papers, get expert help and contact your local Rhode Island divorce lawyer today.