The Rhode Island Family Courts base custody and possession decisions on the “best interest of the child.” The pivotal case Pettinato v. Pettinato, 582 A.2d 909 (R.I. 1990) states that certain factors must be weighed in the best interests of the child analysis when relevant. These factors include:

1. The wishes of the child’s parent or parents regarding the child’s custody.
2. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
3. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
4. The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community.
5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
6. The stability of the child’s home environment.
7. The moral fitness of the child’s parents.
8. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate a close and continuous parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.

CategoryFamily Law

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