Rhode Island Prenup Info & Divorce Statutes

Rhode Island might be small but your plans are big – so big, that you’re ready to dive into a prenuptial agreement and start solidifying them today. Here are some terms and statutes you’ll want to know to get a basic understanding of divorce and prenuptial agreement terms in Rhode Island. Got it? Great! Start your Rhode Island prenuptial agreement and get back to planning your big day.

Rhode Island Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement (referred to generally as a “prenup”) is a drafted document between two engaged parties who plan to get married. The planned document outlines what will happen to property that is acquired prior to marriage, while married, and in the event of divorce or separation. Prenups also detail what will happen between a couple’s debt, assets, liabilities, and responsibilities while married and in the event of divorce or separation.

What to include in a valid Rhode Island Prenup? 

For a RI prenup to be considered valid in the eyes of the law, it must be drafted under specific requirements that include:

  • A written contract
  • Lawful terms
  • Signatures from both parties (HelloPrenup recommends that you initial each page!)
  • Signed voluntarily (without being under duress, intimidation, deceit, etc.)
  • Notarized

When creating your prenup, make sure to include and understand this proper terminology so there is no confusion about your prenup and total clarity for all.

>> For more fine print, review Rhode Island Prenup Statute


What to exclude from your Rhode Island prenup 

Your prenup could be a risk if you include any of the following provisions:

  • Child custody or child support
  • Excluding the right to counsel
  • Incentive to commit illegal acts
  • Incentive for divorce
  • Unfair, unjust, or deceptive terms

It’s best to avoid these subjects so that you can verify that your prenup will be valid and enforceable.

Statutes & terms to understand for a valid Rhode Island Prenup

*Psst! We created a “prenup encyclopedia” that breaks down the general prenup terminology (so your brain doesn’t have to). Read through the terms prior to getting into the statutes 👇

Marital Assets

Unofficial term for property “acquired during the marriage”

Marital assets are any property or income that is acquired during the marriage by either party. These assets will be subject to equitable distribution based on a number of factors (see link below). Though the assets may have be acquired and shared “equally” it is still up to Rhode Island courts to decide how the equity will be distributed based on what is considered to be fair.

>>For the entire fine print, review how Rhode Island views property acquired during the marriage

Nonmarital Property

 “property held in the name of one party”

Rhode Island courts are hesitant to assign property or an interest in property held in the name of one of the spouses, if that property was held by the spouse prior to the marriage. However, the court may assign the income derived from said property during the marriage, and may also assign the appreciation in value of that property as marital property. Long story short? If you don’t want any of your separate property, appreciation of that property, or earnings from that property to be considered part of the marital estate subject to division, get a prenup!

>>For the entire fine print, review how Rhode Island considers the assignment of property 

Alimony Statute

Official term: Alimony 

How does Rhode Island view alimony?  Rhode Island “alimony” is defined as payments for the support of either the husband or the wife, and is designed to provide support for that spouse for a reasonable length of time in order to enable the recipient of the alimony to become financially independent and self-sufficient. Rhode Island courts can award alimony for an indefinite period of time when they deem that it is appropriate based upon a variety of factors, including the length of marriage, employability of the parties, etc. The factors for indefinite alimony in Rhode Island can be viewed here.

>>For the entire fine print, review Rhode Island Alimony Law

Divorce Statute:

General Provisions: Assignment of Property

Rhode Island follows an equitable distribution theory of property division, but like all states, has it’s own individual laws. Rhode Island calls this process “Assignment of Property.” That means that the assets and debts that you and your spouse acquired will be split in an equitable manner (if you haven’t already determined this split in a prenuptial agreement!) The courts in Rhode Island consider many different factors when deciding how to divide marital property in an equitable manner, including the length of the marriage, contributions to the marriage, the ages of the spouses, the employability of the parties, the health of the parties, among others. Read up on Rhode Island’s equitable distribution theory here: 

>>For the entire fine print, review Rhode Island Divorce Law

Rhode Island “No Fault” Divorce 

Rhode Island is a “no-fault” divorce state – which means that couples married within this state do not need to provide any sort of evidence that a divorce is needed (from either party for any reason). Irrespective of the fault of either party,  a divorce can be granted by way of “irreconcilable differences” which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.

>>For the entire fine print, review Rhode Island Divorce Law

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