Rhode Island Child Custody Laws

Rhode Island Child Custody Laws

Rhode Island Child Custody Laws

Looking for answers about Rhode Island child custody laws? Don’t worry. Paul Ferns is here for you.

Every divorce is full of difficult decisions, but few are more difficult than those that involve custody of your children. As a parent, you only want the very best for your child. You want to be an active part of their lives and see them grow up to be happy adults. But when tensions are high in a crumbling marriage, warring couples sometimes use their children as a weapon to hurt their ex-spouse. It’s an unfortunate reality that’s all too common, and it leaves everyone involved feeling stressed out, angry and hurt.

If you’re feeling daunted by difficult decisions or an intimidating ex, take a deep breath. Paul Ferns is on your side. Attorney Ferns can help you and your ex-spouse negotiate an agreement through out-of-courtroom mediation or he can stand up for your parental rights in court. Here’s everything you need to know about child custody in Rhode Island.

Child custody laws in RI

In Rhode Island, there’s no one-size-fits-all set of laws for determining how parents should share custody of a child in a divorce. Every child custody case must be worked out on a case-by-case basis to determine what’s best for all children involved.

The simplest way to determine child custody in Rhode Island is with an out-of-court agreement through child custody mediation. Both you and your ex-spouse can sit down with a neutral third party to hash out all the particulars about your separation and how you’ll share custody of your children.

The court will usually honor any arrangement that both parents can agree on, provided that it doesn’t harm or endanger the child in any way. However, if both parents are unable to reach an agreement through mediation, it will be up to the court to decide how custody of the children should be shared.

Physical Placement vs Legal Placement

Before you enter any kind of mediation with your ex-spouse, it’s important to know exactly what type of custody you’re negotiating for. There are two different types of custody recognized by the state of Rhode Island. They are Physical Placement and Legal Placement

A parent who possesses physical custody in Rhode Island lives in the same household as the child and provides them with physical necessities like food, shelter and clothing. One parent could possess sole physical custody, or both parents could share it through a joint custody arrangement. The parent who cares for the child the majority of the time is sometimes called the "custodial parent" while the other is the "non-custodial parent".

On the other hand, a parent who possesses legal custody in Rhode Island is in charge of making decisions on the child’s behalf. This includes things like where the child will go to school or what doctor will provide their medical care. However, it’s important to note that the non-custodial parent is allowed to make medical decisions on the child’s behalf in emergency situations. As with physical custody, legal custody could either be split between parents or one parent could possess sole legal custody.

In Rhode Island, most parents usually share physical and legal custody in a Rhode Island joint custody arrangement. However, there may be cases where one parent having both sole physical and legal custody would be in a child’s best interest.

Sole Custody in RI

In a sole custody arrangement, one parent is responsible for caring for the child full time while the other parent receives visitation rights. The custodial parent is fully responsible for meeting the child’s needs and has full say when it comes to making decisions on the child’s behalf. Because caring for a child full-time is a demanding responsibility, the custodial parent is entitled to receive child support from the non-custodial parent.

Sole custody is not as common as it once was in the past, but it can still be awarded to parents in certain circumstances. ARhode Island at-fault divorce may lead a court to rule in favor of a sole custody arrangement. So could a history of domestic violence from one parent.

Joint custody in RI

In a joint custody arrangement (sometimes called a split custody arrangement), both parents will share physical and legal custody of their children. For example, the mother may have the children during the workweek, while the father keeps them for the weekends. When the child needs a medical procedure, both parents will consult each other about which doctor should do the job. Unless, of course, the child is experiencing a medical emergency and needs immediate care.

Joint custody arrangements are the most common style of custody arrangement in Rhode Island, and they’re usually the most beneficial for children. However, for a joint custody arrangement to work, both parents have to be emotionally mature and willing to co-parent without hard feelings, and that’s often easier said than done.

How is child support calculated? RI custody laws on child support

In most custody arrangements, the non-custodial parent is obligated to pay child support to the custodial parent, which is calculated on a dual-income model.

Like nearly everything else in a divorce, you can either reach an agreement on child support payments through independent child custody mediation or through a court-ordered arrangement. For more details on how to calculate RI child support for joint custody, check out our in-depth guide on Rhode Island child support.

How can I get visitation rights for my child? Parent’s Rights in Rhode Island

In our modern world, parents play a more active part in their children’s lives than ever before. They are no longer considered second-class parents, and they have just as much right to their children as mothers do. According to Rhode Island child visitation guidelines, any parent of a minor child can request visitation rights in an open divorce or petition for visitation by filling out the proper RI custody forms. The court will either rule for or against a request for visitation depending on what is in the child’s best interest.

What’s considered to be in the child’s best interest can vary greatly, and there are no set rules or guidelines in divorce. In general, the court will look at a number of factors when determining custody arrangements. They include:
  • Each parent’s wishes for custody
  • Each parent’s ability to provide the child with a stable home
  • Any criminal record or history of domestic violence of either parent
  • The child’s individual relationship with each parent
  • The physical and mental health of each parent
  • The emotional stability and moral fitness of both parents
  • The child’s adjustment to a new home, school, or community
  • The child’s wishes, provided they are old enough to have an opinion
However, it’s important to note that it is possible to avoid the courtroom altogether through divorce negotiation with experienced Rhode Island custody attorney Paul Ferns at your side.

Who’s the best child custody lawyer in RI?

Through his calm, rational approach, Attorney Paul Ferns will stand up for your rights as a parent. Attorney Ferns believes in treating all parties involved in a divorce with respect and courtesy. His clients always appreciate the civility he brings to the table, and he’s been able to successfully negotiate custody arrangements that have satisfied everyone involved, without the hassle of going to court.

If you need a strong, capable Rhode Island child custody lawyer in your corner, contact Attorney Ferns’ office today to see how he can help you.