Supreme Court has consistently delineated the considerations to be considered by The Rhode Island Family Court in deciding Rhode Island Child Custody Proceedings. Child custody fights in Rhode Island usually occur between non-married parents seeking custody in the form of divorce cases, post divorce cases or miscellaneous petitions.
The RI Family court will have to decide what is in the child’s “best interest” This is a very arbitrary and empirical test. To get legal advice about the facts and circumstances of your situation, it is advisable to contact a Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer or a RI Family Lawyer. There are eight basic factors which the judge should consider in determining the child’s best interest. The court uses these factors to determine both physical and legal guardianship of children Do you want to learn more? Visit Conway Child custody attorney .
“This [C]ourt held that child custody awards must be made in the child’s ‘best interest.'” citing Loudin’s Petition “[T]he best interests of the child standard remain amorphous, and its implementation was left to the sound discretion of the trial judges.” Id. The Judge will take into consideration different considerations when having the child decision a best interest. However, no single factor is determinative; rather, “[t]he trial justice must consider a combination and interaction of all the relevant factors affecting the best interests of the child.” Among the factors to be considered by the court are:
- The parent’s or parents’ desires for custody of the infant.
- The child’s fair choice, whether the court finds that the child is of adequate intellect, comprehension, and ability to convey a desire.
- The child’s engagement and interrelationship with the parent or parents of the child, the siblings of the child, and any other adult who may influence the best interest of the child significantly.
- The change the infant makes to the family, education , and culture of the kid.
- All the individuals involved are mental and physical health.
- Stability of home environment for the child.
- Moral health on the parents of the boy.
- Each parent’s willingness and ability to facilitate a close and continuous relationship between the child and the other parent “Pettinato v. Pettinato, 582 A.2d 909, 913-14 (R.I. 1990).
If a parent is trying to modify an existing Child Custody determination / Family Court Order then that parent must also prove a substantial change in circumstances since the last custody order. The Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled “Moreover, before a final custody decree can be reopened or amended, the moving party must establish by a fair preponderance of the evidence that the conditions or circumstances existing at the time the decree was entered have so changed that it should be modified in the interest of the children’s welfare.” Pettinato v. Pettinato “Until and unless the moving party meets this burden, the prior custody award should remain intact.” Id.