In any case involving children, Rhode Island courts always consider what is in the child’s best interest. The “standard” for determining the best interest is a complicated and multi-pronged process whereby the judge considers many things. The judge has the ability to weigh some factors greater than others.
While it is generally presumed a child’s happiness and welfare are best preserved when a relationship is maintained with both parents, there is no presumption in favor of shared physical custody, or equal parenting time between the parents.
There are two types of custody, legal and physical, more commonly known in RI as placement. Legal custody grants one or both parents the right to make decisions such as religion, education, and medical choices on behalf of a child. Physical custody (placement) outlines which parent the child will primarily live with.
For one parent to be given sole legal and/or physical custody, the other parent must be deemed unfit. The failure of a parent to fulfill basic parental responsibilities can result in parental unfitness.
Sole custody in Rhode Island can be gained when the other parent:
- has demonstrated a history of physical or substance abuse
- has neglected their childcare responsibilities
- willingly agrees to terminate parental rights
- sufferers from a mental health condition that prevents them from caring for the child
If you feel it is not in your child’s best interest to share custody and you can prove the other parent is not in a position to provide a safe environment, our family law attorney can help you pursue sole custody. Contact us today to discuss the merits of your claims.