Most divorcing couples' main concern is dividing their assets such as their home (" the marital domicile"), their bank accounts, their pensions and their personal property.
Two assets are not marital in nature. They are any inheritances that a party received and kept this completely separate from the other spouse and any gifts that were given to one spouse.
In Rhode Island, assets acquired during the course of the marriage is deemed the "marital estate".
I will first determine what is a marital asset and then I will determine how that particular asset should be divided.
For example, if one spouse has a pension ( This would include: 401k; IRS, 401(b),and any other retirement investments) I will determine whether it was earning during the course of the marriage. If this particular assets was earned entirely during the coursed of the marriage, then it is marital in nature and would be divided accordingly. If the pension, etc. was not earned during the entire length of the marriage, then a percentage of the amount currently vested in the pension etc. would be divided according to the number of years that the spouse was in service over the number of years that the parties have been marriage. There would be a lesser amount distributed since some of the pension was vested prior to the marriage. Once you and your spouse attend the divorce hearing, the party with the pension still accumulates his/her pension and the other parties' marital asset in that pension stops.
For instance, if one spouse has worked twenty (20) years at their place of employment but has only been married to their spouse for ten (10) years, the other spouse would be entitled to 25% of that pension since one-half of it was accrued and vested over the course of the marriage. The value, as I previously mentioned, would be determined as of the date your divorce is heard. Thereafter, the spouse will continue to invest in their pension, but the other spouse's portion has ended.
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