Rhode Island divorce attorney David Slepkow prepared an extensive list of post divorce tips for your review:
RI Family Law Tips Post Divorce
(1) In the event that there is a marital settlement agreement (msa) or property settlement agreement (psa) in your case, changes to the document need to be in writing signed under the same formalities as the property settlement agreement. (Notarized signatures etc.) If husband and wife never executed a property settlement agreement and the entire settlement is set forth in the final judgment of divorce then official changes can only be made by filing a motion to the Providence Family Court for a modification of the final judgment based on a substantial change of circumstances.
(2) It is imperative that you keep and maintain accurate records concerning any payment of spousal support (alimony in RI) , child support, uninsured medical expenses and extracurricular costs that you have incurred or reimbursed.
Everything important should be in writing post divorce
(3) It is a very bad idea to attempt to modify your property settlement agreement with a verbal agreement. ALL changes to the written marital settlement agreement must be in writing, signed by both parties in front of a notary public.
(4) If you give your child spending money or buy clothes, sporting goods, sneakers or gifts for your child or children, these payments will be considered gifts and will not count as a credit towards your child support obligation. Child support in Rhode Island must be given directly or via wage garnishment to the custodial parent via cash or check.
(5) If the parent with physical custody of your child is receiving cash benefits (welfare) then consider stopping direct payments of child support! You must make the payment to Rhode Island and Providence Plantations as reimbursement of the cash assistance. In the event that the custodial parent of your children is on cash assistance and you present direct payments, then these funds will be tantamount to a gift. The State of Rhode Island (RI) will still pursue you for the child support payments in Providence Family Court, even though you are still tendering the child support to the custodial parent.
Receipts and detailed post divorce records are key!
(6) If you are in a high conflict situation with the mother or father of your child then keep detailed records of visitation dates and times, activities and important events and communications pertaining to visitation and custodial rights.
(7) If you must pay your spousal support, child support or alimony in cash then you need to get a signed receipt of all payments. That reciept must clearly indicate what each payment was for.
(8) If there is a restraining order, order protection from abuse or criminal no contact order between you and your ex-girlfriend, girlfriend, wife, ex-wife or ex friend with benefits, do not contact the alleged victim without the restraining order or abuse order being dismissed. You need to verify with the Clerk of the Providence Family Court that the restraining order has in fact been dismissed. You need to see a copy of the actual dismissal.
(9) Even if the purported victim invites you over or contacts you on facebook, instant message or cell phone, you could still be arrested for violating the abuse RO. Any type of communication including skype, letters, instant message, tweet can be a violation of the restraining order
If your circumstances change dramatically and alimony is modifiable, look into filing a motion to modify alimony, immediately. This is applicable only if the spousal support is modifiable. In the event the marital settlement agreement is incorporated into the final judgment and declares that spousal support is non modifiable then such spousal support / alimony is non modifiable. If there is no property settlement agreement in your RI divorce cause of action and the court made an award of alimony, then the spousal maintenance is probably modifiable upon a substantial change in circumstances. A substantial change of circumstances could be a substantial loss of income, loss of employment or a severe disability etc
Child Support in Rhode Island post divorce
Child support in Rhode Island does not terminate automatically upon a child attaining the age of eighteen. Child support will automatically accrue unless a Motion to Terminate Child Support is filed.
If you are the parent with physical placement of your child/children and your income significantly decreases or your ex-spouse’s income significantly increases, then you should contact a lawyer to file a Motion to increase your child support payments.
If you are parent without physical custody of your children and your income decreases significantly or your ex-spouse’s income significantly increases, then you should contact a Rhode island child support attorney to file a Motion to lower your child support order. If you cannot pay your RI child support because of a change in circumstances you need to file a motion to modify child support immediately otherwise you can be subjected to a contempt proceeding for failure to pay child support.
Statistics and Useful Info:
The estimated number of divorces granted in December 1997 was 104,000 compared with 94,000 divorces granted in December a year earlier. The divorce rate per 1,000 population for December increased from 4.2 in 1996 to 4.5 in 1997. The cumulative number of divorces granted in 1997 was 1,163,000, 1 percent more than the number for 1996 (1,150,000). The divorce rate per 1,000 population for 1997 was the same as the rate for 1996 (4.3), the lowest divorce rate in over two decades (3). The divorce rate per 1,000 married women 15 years of age and over was 19.8 in 1997, 2 percent higher than the rate for 1996, (19.5) which was the lowest rate since 1974.” Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths for 1997 Provisional Data From the CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION/National Center for Health Statistic http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/mvsr/mv46_12.pdf