Rhode Island has a “track” system for divorces, meaning that a divorce is either on the “Nominal Track” or the “Contested Track.” The party filing the divorce first may choose either track from the beginning. If they choose the nominal track, they will be given an initial (and hopefully last) hearing date that will be approximately 11 week from the date of filing.

If they choose contested, they will get a case status hearing date that will typically be 13 to 16 weeks from the date of filing. If the case is on the nominal track, and the Defendant is not actively disputing and issues, the case may go forward as a “Nominal Hearing” on the 11 week date. If so, you will be finished with court, unless something else comes up before the Final Decree is entered. If there is a dispute at the 11 week date, the case becomes “Contested” automatically, and you will be given a case status hearing date several weeks out.

Assuming a nominal hearing, then the parties must then wait 90 days for the Final Decree to enter, assuming the case was filed under “irreconcilable differences.” The other common grounds for divorce is “living separate and apart for the space of at least 3 years.” If you file under this statute, you will need to wait only 20 days from the nominal hearing date to enter the final decree.

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