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The Ins and Outs of Child Custody and Visitation in Rhode Island

Gene Kirzhner June 2, 2020

In life, the relationships we build aren’t always picture perfect. Below the surface of a divorce or separation, there is likely a lot of history, mistakes, anger, and trauma. And, unfortunately, all too often swirling in this mix of emotions are the children looking at their family splitting apart and feeling unsure of what is to come.

Knowing your local child custody and visitation laws before the split or divorce is crucial to prepare both your children and yourself for the rocky road ahead of you. Below, we will discuss the main principles surrounding children and separations in Rhode Island. In doing so, we hope to help countless Rhode Island residents prepare for the worst before moving to the next chapter of their lives.

What Is Child Custody and Visitation Exactly?

To start, let’s take a look at what child custody and visitation consist of. According to the Legal Dictionary, “‘child custody’ refers to the legal and hands-on relationship between a parent and his or her child. Custody includes the parent’s right to raise, care for, and make decisions regarding the child. The natural state is for the child’s biological parents to make all decisions involving the child’s residence, healthcare, education, and religious upbringing. However, when couples separate, all of these issues may become contentious. When a child’s custody and upbringing are in dispute, child custody laws and the court become involved.”

Meanwhile, visitation refers to how often the child(ren) see their parents. Visitation depends on the agreement made by the court and the biological parents.

How Is Child Custody Handled in Rhode Island?

In the state of Rhode Island, biological parents can seek to sort out their child custody and visitation agreements in multiple ways. There are several forms of custody, including sole custody, joint custody. Who the child(ren) spend most of their time with is called physical placement, or it can be shared placement if it is truly 50/50.

Each type of custody comes with different visitation rights and child support agreements. Custody details can be hashed out by a responsible local child custody and visitation attorney. However, some considering factors include:

  • the parent’s agreements

  • the child’s preference (if they are old enough)

  • the relationship between the child and both parents

  • the relationship between the child and their parent’s families

  • the mental and physical health of the child

  • the ease of adjustments in lifestyle for the child

  • the stability of the household

  • the moral compasses of the parents

  • the financial status of each parent, unassisted

What Are the Main Laws Associated with Visitation in Rhode Island?

As stated above, visitation is based on several different factors. However, something you should definitely know about visitation in Rhode Island is that step-parents, grandparents, and parents who have terminated their parental rights have no visitation rights whatsoever.

On top of this, visitation must be approved by a court, unless otherwise stated. If the parent has a certain amount of days granted to them, arrangements with the other parent must be made. Supervised visitation is also an option in Rhode Island.

In the end, divorce and separation are never easy, but your children should not be the ones that suffer during the process. If you have questions regarding child custody and visitation in Rhode Island, or could use help easing your children and yourself through this process, give us a call at the Law Offices of Howe and Garside! We look forward to assisting you today!