CHILD CUSTODY IN RI
The Rhode Island Family Courts base child 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 the courts must base their decision on what is in “the best interest of the child.”
BEST INTEREST OF CHILDREN
There are also certain factors that must be looked at when determining the best interests of the child, when relevant. These factors include:
- The wishes of the child’s parent or parents regarding the child’s custody.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
- 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.
- The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community.
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
- The stability of the child’s home environment.
- The moral fitness of the child’s parents.
- The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate a close and continuous parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
RI CHILD CUSTODY HEARINGS
The end result is that at hearing or trial on child custody, placement, visitation, etc., you must present evidence related to the factors above. However, understand that its not just a checklist. You cant add up the factors you win on, versus those that the other side wins on, and calculate a result. As a result, imagine the court determines that seven of the eight factors are favorable to you. But you still do not succeed. Certainly, this can be confusing and cause difficulty assessing chances of success.
Parenting or child evaluations, grandparent rights, long distance parenting, and a variety of other issues often arise too. Overall, its best to consult an attorney regarding the details of your child custody or placement case.