If an emergency motion is granted and emergency orders enter then a hearing will be set approximately 20 days to determine if the order should stay in effect while the divorce case is proceeding. At that hearing your spouse has an opportunity to contest the motion and tell his or her side of the story. At that hearing, the Court will determine whether the emergency relief will stay in effect while the divorce case proceeds.
will the case be put on the Nominal or Contested Track?
When a RI divorce is filed in court, the case is put onto one of two tracks, the contested track or the nominal track. The Plaintiff in the initial filing designates the track. The vast majority of divorces filed in Rhode Island are designated on the nominal track. A designation on the "nominal track" does not necessarily mean that the divorce will be uncontested. It usually means that the party who filed believes that the case can be settled relatively quickly or wants the divorce to be settled relatively quickly.
Answer to Divorce Complaint
The defendant needs to file an answer to the divorce within 20 days of service and absolutely no later than the nominal court date or any motion date. It is very dangerous to not answer a case! If the Defendant does not answer the case, he is subject to being defaulted. A default is when the defendant does not answer the case on a timely basis and the Plaintiff will usually get all of the relief that plaintiff requests.
If the divorce is put on the nominal track then the clerk will automatically set a nominal divorce hearing upon the Plaintiff filing. The clerk will write in the nominal and motion dates onto the summons to be served on the defendant. This hearing will typically be scheduled from 65-70 days after filing. In the event that the divorce is not settled by the nominal divorce date then the case will automatically be changed to the contested track. If you have filed an answer to the case, attendance at the first nominal court date is usually optional.
If the case is not settled by the nominal court date and both parties want to try to resolve the remaining issues in court and believe it is possible to resolve the remaining issues, then the parties can attempt to settle the case in the hallway or conference rooms in the courthouse and put the case through as a nominal uncontested divorce on that date.
If the defendant has not filed an answer, it is dangerous for the defendant to not appear in court at the nominal court date based on representations made by the other party .
I have seen numerous occasions when a spouse has assured the other party that it is not necessary to appear in court and not necessary to file an answer and the spouse is defaulted and the other spouse gets 100 percent of the assets of the marriage.
On the date of the nominal divorce hearing, at the call of the calendar, the case will be either ready nominal or the parties will ask the judge to hold the case so they can try to resolve the remaining issues. If the parties cannot resolve the remaining issues they will inform the Court clerk or the judge that the case cannot be settled and the case track will be changed to the contested divorce track. If the case track is changed there will be no hearing that date and the court may inform the parties of the next pretrial conference date.
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