Both parents have the right to custody and parenting time with their child or children, and that's typically the preference of the RI Family Court. The idea is a simple one: each child and parent has the right to develop a strong relationship. Barring any serious issues like physical or mental abuse, neglect or addiction that prevents a parent from being an appropriate caregiver, child custody is a right both parents equally have. Determining what that manifests as is another issue altogether.
In Rhode Island, the Law office of Melissa Larsen, Esq. will thoroughly review your case, listen to your concerns and preferences with care and compassion, and outline the best course of action for you. Attorney Larsen knows that you are placing your child's best interests first. To that end, Melissa will make every effort to attain the child custody arrangement best for you and your child or children. Contact Melissa online or text or call 401-218-0862 to schedule a free initial 15 minute consultation.
What is Child Custody in Rhode Island?
When two parents are no longer together, one of the most important matters to be decided is who will have custody and placement of their child or children. There are two different types of custody that the court must consider: legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody is not related to whom the child lives with. Instead, the parent with legal custody has the legal right to make important life decisions for the child. For example, a parent with legal custody will decide where the child attends school and the type of healthcare they will receive. It is common for the parents to share legal custody.
Physical custody concerns where the child resides. It may be awarded solely to one parent, or it may be shared jointly between parents. Parents with joint custody will have a plan set in place that determines who has the child when.
When determining who to award child custody to, a court will consider what is in the best interest of the child. Some of the factors the court will look at are:
- Who can provide a safe environment for the child
- Any evidence of abuse
- The child's relationship with each parent
- The geographic location of each parent
- Where the child or children go to school
If a matter affects the child, the court will likely consider it when awarding custody.
Parent Plans and Child Custody in Rhode Island
Once child custody has been determined, unless one parent has sole custody, most jurisdictions request the parties enter into a parenting plan. A parenting plan lays out what is expected of each parent to provide the child with the physical and mental stability they need to prosper. It can address everything from where a child or children live, where the child or children go to school and even the religion they will be exposed to. The parent plan is an agreement the parties reach together, often with the help of mediation.
Unfit Parents and Child Custody in Rhode Island
When a court reviews a case and determines that a parent is unfit, the Court may award custody to another party, and the court may Order all visitation be supervised. The parenting time supervisor may be an agreed upon third party or a professional (paid) supervisor. The court may also order the unfit parent to undergo counseling, alcohol and/or drug screens and parenting classes as a condition of parenting time with their child or children.
While it is not impossible for an unfit parent to later regain custody of their child, it is not an easy feat as they must prove to the court the issues that deemed them unfit have been completely resolved.
Contact Child Custody Lawyer, Melissa Larsen, Esq. Today
If you are facing a child custody issue, make certain your rights are protected and the best interests of your minor children are protected by hiring Attorney Melissa Larsen. Melissa is a lawyer with over two decades experience in family law and child custody disagreements. Contact Melissa Larsen, Esq. today by using our online form or calling or texting directly at 401-218-0862.