Rhode Island Child Custody Laws
When parents get divorced or don't get married in the first place, they must work out a plan for the children's living arrangements. State child custody laws govern how this is decided, with special attention placed on the child's own best interests. The term "physical custody" refers to where the child lives (which may be split between both parents), and "legal custody" refers to the parents' abilities to make important life decisions on behalf of their child. All 50 states and the District of Columbia adhere to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which attempts to discourage parental abduction and other problems with child custody.
Rhode Island Child Custody Laws at a Glance
Rhode Island is unique in that courts very rarely award joint custody, unless it is agreed to by the parties beforehand. When determining custody, the child's own preference will be taken into account if the court believes he or she is mature enough to make such an important decision.
You can find additional details about Rhode Island child custody laws in the chart below. See FindLaw's extensive Child Custody section for more articles and resources.
|Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted||1978|
|Joint Custody an Option?||Yes (by agreement of the parties, but rarely ordered by R.I. family courts)
|Factors Considered by the Court When Making Custody Determination||
(established by: Pettinato v. Pettinato, 582 A.2d 909, 913-14 (R.I. 1990))
|Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?||Yes, §§15-5-24.1 to 24.3|
|Child's Own Wishes Considered?||Yes (subject to court's determination of the chilld's maturity level)
Note: State laws change regularly through higher courts decisions, new legislation, and other means. You should contact a Rhode Island child custody attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
- Rhode Island Law
- Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
Rhode Island Child Custody Laws: Related Resources
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney
Contact a qualified attorney.