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Rhode Island Child Custody Attorney

Protecting You and Your Child in Warwick, RI

Our state's child custody laws were designed to serve the "best interests of the child." In any child custody case, a family court's main goal will be to reduce the disruption caused to the child's life and maintain the same standard of living that the child enjoyed before the divorce took place. If you are seeking a custody arrangement that is beneficial to your child, contact a Rhode Island child custody lawyer at The Law Office of Patricia A. Sullivan.

Why You Need a Child Custody Attorney in Rhode Island

There is a reason that these situations can be referred to as a "battle" if they are not handled correctly. Child custody is a tense situation but the results of it are incredibly important. Making every effort now can affect you and your child down the road. Here are some of the reasons why you should retain an attorney, rather than trying to represent yourself:

  • An attorney knows the ins and outs of the court system and has a strong familiarity with these cases.
  • They know how to prepare and what steps to take to increase the chance of a favorable end result.
  • Through hard work they can find the solution that you are looking for, making sure that you and your child are looked out for.
  • An attorney can also work with you and your spouse to come to an agreement together if it is possible.

How is child custody decided in Rhode Island?

The overriding factor that a judge considers when making a custody decision is the best interest of the child. However, there are other factors that may have an influence on the judge's decision, including the following:

  • child's relationship with both parents
  • the quality of the schools in both parents' places of residence
  • which parent has served as the primary caretaker of the child, the child's needs
  • child's preference

What are the types of custody that could be awarded to a divorcing parent in Rhode Island?

There are two types of custody arrangement available to divorcing parents: Legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions about a child's upbringing, such as:

  • education
  • medical care
  • religious preference

In most cases, a court will attempt to give joint legal custody to the parents.

Physical custody refers to who the child will actually live with. A court will usually decide in favor of granting sole physical custody, as joint physical custody between both parents is considered disruptive or confusing to the child. The general rule is that it is believed that the children are best served by having access to both parents, and when the court is involved in making this decision, the guiding principle is the best interests of the child.

What is Sole Custody of a Child?

Depending on the state where you live, the terms for child custody can vary, as can the way that the court may go about making their decision. In Rhode Island, sole custody may be awarded in certain situations where it is evident to that court that only one of the parents should be given the main custody over the child. Sole custody means that there is one parent who is in charge of making the major decisions for the child, such as their education, medical care, and religion. The parent that is the sole custodian will also have physical custody of the child as well, meaning that they live with them. There are many factors that go into determining if sole custody should be awarded, and the court will assess both parents and the situation based on the following:

  • Their current relationship with the child
  • Their ability to provide a loving home
  • Their income
  • The child's wishes
  • Current living situation of the child including school and friends
  • How moving a child would impact them
  • The parents' mental health
  • The age and health of the child
  • The time that has been spent with both parents

These are important details that will need to be looked at and the court can take them and other details into account when determining if they will award sole custody. The court will often prefer to keep both parents involved if it is possible with the situation and that is known as joint custody. If sole custody is awarded, it does not mean that that other parent can never see the child or not still seek visitation rights. There is still the chance for them to be involved in the life of the child, as long as the court does not find it damaging to the wellbeing of the child. For legal assistance in your case, turn to The Law Office of Patricia A. Sullivan.

Can a child custody order be modified in RI?

Yes. There are certain situations that will allow for a child custody order to be modified in court. Cases in which one parent is planning to move away, or when it can be established that the child has been neglected, abused or other similar situation. Contact our Rhode Island child custody lawyer to learn more as it pertains to the specific details of your case.

Protect Your Family with a Rhode Island Child Custody Attorney

I have provided compassionate and effective legal support to clients as a Rhode Island child custody attorney for over 30 years. Understanding how difficult a divorce can be for a child, I will seek an amicable resolution to your child custody matter.

My priority is to secure an outcome that places minimal strain on you and your child and allows you to maintain the bond you have built over the course of both of your lives. To get started with your RI child custody case, fill out a free intital case evaluation form so that I can start reviewing your situation immediately.