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Family Law

About Family Law and Divorce in Rhode Island

Attorney S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. is a Rhode Island Family Law and Divorce Court Lawyer specializing in helping people resolve domestic and family issues including divorce, child support, as well as other Family Court criminal and civil matters including:

  • divorce (non-contested and contested)
  • child support contempt proceedings
  • child support modification, increase, and termination
  • property settlement agreements
  • adoptions
  • divorce and family law mediation
  • visitation and visitation disputes
  • domestic violence
  • child custody
  • alimony
  • restraining orders/domestic violence/no contact orders
  • criminal matters relating to family law
  • father’s rights
  • out of state family law issues
  • paternity
  • equitable division of assets
  • drafting and negotiating prenuptial agreements and property settlement agreements

More information on our major areas of practice:

What are the grounds for divorce?

A divorce in Rhode Island, in the majority of cases, is granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences which have caused the breakdown of the marriage. There are various other grounds for divorces such as adultery or extreme cruelty which can be discussed with your attorney.

What is the residency requirement for obtaining a divorce in the Rhode Island Family Court?

Divorce proceedings cannot be initiated unless you or your spouse have resided in Rhode Island for a period of one year.

What do I need the first time I visit my lawyer’s office?

To expedite your case, you should take your marriage certificate, copies of your most recent tax return, a picture of your spouse, a list of your family obligations and a list of questions you have for your lawyer. In addition, you should know the address, both residence, and work of your spouse, together with all family members’ place and date of birth.

What kind of issues will I discuss with my lawyer on the first visit?

The separation of a married couple is one of the most traumatic occurrences in one’s life. An attorney will address both family and emotional issues, including consideration of marriage counseling or other steps to help save the marriage; assisting you as a parent in meeting the needs of your children, and handling financial matters such as real estate and personal property. You should also be sure to discuss, and fully understand, the attorney’s fee arrangement at the first meeting.

What is a restraining order and when might I need one?

Restraining orders are usually designed to prevent abuse of a spouse or to prevent removal of marital assets. Restraining orders may be applied for when necessary in cases of physical abuse, transfer of assets, etc. You can apply for a restraining order directly to Family Court without the help of a lawyer.

What about child support?

The Family Court of Rhode Island has adopted a child support formula and guideline which is based on the incomes of both parents. Your attorney will be able to estimate the amount of support which might be ordered by the Court.

How are marital assets divided?

Marriage is a partnership so an important issue in divorce is a division of marital assets. Most cases are divided equally between spouses, but depending upon the specific facts of the case, there may be a different distribution of marital assets.

How is alimony divided?

There are basically two types of alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is designed for short, definite periods of time, usually to help a spouse get back into the job market. In certain cases, because of age or disability, a court has the right to award alimony indefinitely.

What should I know about custody and visitation?

The well-being of the child is a primary consideration in awarding custody. Your attorney will discuss with you the potential consequences of a contested child custody matter. If at all possible, visitation should continue between the parties even if they are separated, pending the hearing in the Family Court. The Family Court can set specific times that the non-custodial parent will have visitation. A custodial parent’s failure to comply with a visitation schedule may result in a change in custody.

Can decisions made about child support, custody and visitation be changed?

Even after your divorce has been finalized, the Family Court has the authority to change existing child support, visitation and custody arrangements.

When does my divorce become final?

After filing a divorce complaint and the serving of a summons, the matter may be scheduled for hearing as an uncontested divorce after sixty (60) days. The divorce is not final until a final judgment has been signed by a Family Court Judge. It will not be signed until three months (3) and one day (1) have passed following your divorce hearing. Contested divorces take substantially longer to be heard and decided to depend upon the matters to be resolved.

Child Abuse and Neglect

What Constitutes Abuse?

A child whose physical or mental health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm including excessive corporal punishment, sexual abuse/exploitation, neglect, or abandonment.

Mandatory Reporting is Required By Any person with reasonable cause. A Basis of Report of Abuse/neglect is reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected or been the victim of sexual abuse. Abuse should be reported to the Department for Children and their Families.

Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting in Rhode Island is a Misdemeanor and up to $500 fine and/or imprisonment for up to 1 year for failure to report; misdemeanor and up to $1000 fine and/or imprisonment for up to 1 year for false report/

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence refers to the physical harm inflicted on one member of a household or family, by another member of the same household or family (usually between spouses). Domestic violence (sometimes called “spousal abuse”) usually involves repetitive physical and psychological abuse and a “cycle of violence”. Specific crimes charged vary based on 1) severity of the victim’s injuries, 2) whether a minor was present, and 3) whether a protective or restraining order was violated.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter. Also, the Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law but does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.

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200+ reviews
five star ratings on Google

Josh is committed to following through with his clients and ensuring they are happy. He is not only thorough but he is very responsive and cares. I appreciated his help and he adequately explained the process.
Aly Starr
02:27 25 Feb 19
My Experience with Josh representing me was beyond what I could have hoped for. Josh explained his thoughts and exceptions on my case & followed through to receive the best outcome.. Cannot thank you enough Josh!
Troy McGann
13:12 15 Jan 19
I highly recommend the services of Josh Macktaz. He was responsive, efficient and very realistic about my case and the associated penalties. My legal costs were exactly as he suggested on our first call (which were fair). He is very knowledgeable of the Rhode Island law and has very strong contacts at the traffic tribunal. Related, he handled minor hearings without me which saved me money and travel time. He did the best possible job for a guy in my situation. Anyone that has a drunk driving charge in RI that does not consider Josh Macktaz is risking their future and wasting their dollars.
Chad M
23:10 13 Jan 19
My experience with Josh was beyond positive. If I could rate higher than five stars I would. Through out my entire process he was professional, straightforward, knowledgeable and understanding. It did not take long after meeting him I knew I needed him to represent me. Although my road was long Josh stuck with me every step of the way. There is no doubt in my mind without him I would not have been able to get the best possible outcome in my case. For that my family and I are forever grateful to him. He truly is a master of his craft and a fighter through and through. If you need representation look no further " This is the Man you want In your corner."
Daniel James
14:08 22 Dec 18
I hired Joshua Mactaz to represent me. He did an amazing job. He is very knowledgeable, hard worker and will do anything for you. I would recommend him to anyone and I would certainly have him represent me again.
Susan DeFedele
06:41 14 Dec 18
We always dealt with Josh Macktaz directly. He walked us through every step of the process and answered all our questions. His representation for us in the court room was handled professionally and we are extremely happy with the outcome.
Cheryl DeFeo
00:24 14 Dec 18
Amazing lawyer. Josh explained every step to resolving my issue and got me the best possible outcome for my case. He is very to the point and will fight to defend his clients in their toughest times. If you find yourself in trouble in Rhode Island, there is no one I would recommend more than Josh!
James McKeown
04:46 06 Oct 18
Prior to contacting Joshua I was a mess. He put me at ease during my free consultation and I decided he was the right person to represent me on the spot. He delivered on everything he said he would.
Anthony Mayer
19:38 14 Sep 18
Joshua was great he dealt with my case with effectivness and in a very timely manner. He call me when he was telling me that he was going 2 change or do something that would benefit my case I appreciate the professionalism he gave and showed I would highly recommend using his services
Chris Baccelli
19:59 12 Sep 18
After meeting with several lawyers I chose Mr. Macktaz to represent me. His professionalism and positive attitude helped ease the stress of a difficult situation. Josh provided a detailed timeline of the court process and was clear on what my expectations should be. He was prompt in returning my calls and answered any questions or concerns that I had. I would recommend Josh to anyone in need of representation as he went above and beyond in securing the best possible outcome for my case.
Paul DiLorenzo
04:31 14 Aug 18
With Joshua Macktaz, Professional... he helped in my case and I thank him for his help and I truly recommend him for any case, one of the best in the business
jose carrion
23:23 11 Aug 18
Mr. Macktaz was very professional and helped me with my legal issues swiftly and very effectively. Who knew what to do and every steps to take. Highly recommended, one of the best in the business.
Uodam Sann
15:08 10 Aug 18
I will start off by saying I knew nothing about the criminal or traffic court system until March 2018. I made a choice to have one too many and was arrested (DUI). Dealing with the embarrassment of an arrest and fear of losing my job, I "google searched for a DUI lawyer" and Josh Macktaz name appeared. Although apprehensive about using a a Google Review to determine my future, I made the call. This is my experience... 1) Mr. Macktaz made time to meet me the day I outreached him. (free consultation)2) During our initial meeting Macktaz outlined in detail what I had ahead of me; including court dates and car insurance details.3) Mr. Macktaz was at every court appearance and explained what was going to happen in court and the potential outcome.4) He was confident in what the outcome would be... and he was right!In closing... would I retain Mr. Macktaz if I ever needed criminal representation again? Yes, he would be my first phone call. He continually follows up with his clients. I never felt the need to outreach Mr. Macktaz since he called or emailed first!
22:15 03 Jul 18
Professional, experienced and extremely knowledgeable! Josh took the time to answer all my questions, and was always very responsive. He was able to put my mind at ease. He was able to get my charges dismissed and my case expunged. Best Attorney in RI!!!
15:56 09 May 18
Josh was very professional and extremely knowledgeable of my situation. He took the time to meet with me face to face multiple times to gather all the facts so he could develop the best plan possible. After collecting the facts he sat me down and he discussed all the options I had and why certain options may or may not be available in my situation. During this very difficult time, I at least felt comfortable that I received the best possible outcome and Josh is the reason why. A true professional through and through.
Neal Manaskie
19:28 23 Apr 18
For someone who is totally new to the court system Josh took the time to sit and explain options,situations and solutions before he even a dollar was given. He made you feel protected within the court system, and I would recommend him to anyone looking for good help. He was a total down to earth and knowledgeable person someone you'd want on your side. Any help or questions I had were solved within hours by email and he kept connected with me throughout the whole process. Me and my whole family are greatful for the help! Thanks Josh !
Dylan Nunez
02:54 22 Mar 18
Josh is unlike any attorney I've ever had contact with: and I have worked with and for several. Customer service is a key part of the great service he personally delivered. It is with great confidence that I am able to refer him. He brought me the best results possible. He also returned every single phone call. Thanks Josh!
Kathleen Whitmarsh
17:07 13 Mar 18

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