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Rhode Island Alimony
Alimony

Rhode Island law allows the parties to a divorce to seek support payments during the dissolution proceedings. Alimony is granted only when the court determines the circumstances of the parties make it necessary.

Rhode Island awards alimony to either the husband or the wife when either is unable to support himself or herself because of their position as primary caretaker of a child whose age, condition, or circumstances make it appropriate that the parent not seek employment outside of the home.

Support can be ordered for a limited amount of time or for a longer period of time, in a lump sum or installments depending on the circumstances and interests of justice. The court decides the duration of alimony based on the parties’ situation.

Rhode Island divorce courts determine alimony depending on the specific circumstances of the parties to a divorce. The duration of support payments will depend on factors such as the length of the marriage.

Support payments may be deducted from federal taxes, and the recipient must pay income tax on the payments. Alimony may be claimed as a federal income tax deduction by the paying spouse. Likewise, the payee spouse must claim alimony as income.

Types of Alimony

In Rhode Island courts may order temporary, short- and long-term alimony. Temporary alimony is granted at the discretion of the court during the divorce proceedings and before the final decree. Short-term alimony may be granted to allow the receiving party time to gain necessary skills. Long-Term, or permanent, alimony may be granted to a spouse who has significant needs, and is usually reserved for lengthy marriages.

Factors Considered by the Court

In Rhode Island alimony is discretionary. According to the General Laws of Rhode Island - Title 1, Chapter 15-5-16, the court fixes the amount and duration of alimony by examining these factors:

  • the duration of the marriage;
  • any marital misconduct;
  • the health condition, age, station, occupation, amount and source of income, job skills, and employability of the parties; and
  • the state and the liabilities and needs of each of the parties.
  • whether or not a party is capable of being self-supporting;
  • the extent to which a party was absent from employment while fulfilling homemaking responsibilities, and the extent to which any education, skills, or experience of that party have become outmoded and his or her earning capacity diminished;
  • the time and expense required for the supported spouse to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop marketable skills and find appropriate employment;
  • the probability, given a party’s age and skills, of completing education or training and becoming self-supporting;
  • the standard of living while married;
  • the opportunity of either party for future acquisition of capital assets and income;
  • the ability to pay of the supporting spouse, taking into account the supporting spouse’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, debts, and standard of living; and
  • Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and proper.

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