Divorcing parents may not be able to get along with each other, but they are often more committed than ever to making sure that their kids are getting the care and support they need during and after the divorce. However, parents may not always agree on how to best meet the child’s needs. Divorcing parents often disagree on several issues, including who the child should live with and how much responsibility each parent should take on when raising the child.
If divorcing parents cannot come to an understanding on their child custody arrangements, the courts of Rhode Island will use several factors to come up with a custody arrangement that suits the best interests of the child. Some of these factors include:
- Moral fitness of the parents and their preferences with regard to custody.
- Whether the child lives in a stable environment and how they have adapted to their school and community.
- Mental and physical health of both parents and the child.
- Willingness of a parent to encourage a relationship between the child and the child’s other parent.
- Child’ s relationships with the parents, as well as their siblings and other significant people in their life
- Reasonable preferences of the child (if the child is mature enough to express their preference).
Generally, courts prefer to grant joint physical and legal custody whenever possible. This means that the child will live with each parent for a certain amount of time, albeit that time may not be split evenly between the parents. Both parents will also share in decision-making responsibilities, in that they will both have a say in major decisions relating to the child’s health, education and general upbringing.
A family law attorney can help you navigate any child-custody issues that arise during your divorce.