Title 15
Domestic Relations

Chapter 5
Divorce and Separation

R.I. Gen. Laws § 15-5-3

§ 15-5-3. Separation of parties as ground for dissolution — Appeal.

(a) Whenever, in the trial of any complaint for divorce from the bond of marriage or any complaint for dissolution of a marriage, it shall be alleged in the complaint that the parties have lived separate and apart from each other for the space of at least three (3) years, whether voluntarily or involuntary, the court shall, upon a finding that the allegation is true, enter a decision pending entry of final judgment of divorce, which may include provisions for alimony.

(b) Final judgment shall not be entered until the expiration of twenty (20) days after entry of the decision pending entry of final judgment or, if the time for taking an appeal has been extended pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure, Article I, Rule 4 of the Supreme Court Rules, until the expiration of the extended period.

(c) Final judgment may be entered ex parte and in chamber on the suggestion of the prevailing party.

(d) If no final judgment is presented to the court for entry within one hundred eighty (180) days next after the expiration of twenty (20) days from the date of decision, a final judgment may be entered only in open court and on motion or written consent of the attorneys or parties.

(e) Notice of the filing of the motion shall not be required in cases in which the original complaint is unanswered.

(f) The taking of an appeal shall operate as a stay of the judgment during the pendency of the appeal. Upon motion and for good cause shown:

(1) The family court may, prior to the filing of a notice of appeal, order that the judgment become final and operative immediately; and

(2) The supreme court may, in the event an appeal is taken, vacate the automatic stay provided under this section.

History of Section.
G.L. 1896, ch. 195, § 3; G.L. 1909, ch. 247, § 3; G.L. 1923, ch. 291, § 3; G.L. 1938, ch. 416, § 3; G.L. 1956, § 15-5-3; P.L. 1972, ch. 214, § 1; P.L. 1976, ch. 338, § 1; P.L. 1977, ch. 104, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 329, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 233, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 404, § 9; P.L. 2016, ch. 13, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 14, § 1.