Rhode Island Info

Rhode Island Divorce Start Your Divorce Find Professionals Rhode Island Articles Divorce Facts Divorce Grounds Residency Divorce Laws Mediation/Counseling Divorce Process Legal Separation Annulments Property Division Alimony Child Custody Child Support Divorce Forms Process Service Grandparent Rights Forum Rhode Island Products Divorce by County

Rhode Island Articles

Agreements Custody & Visitation Child Support Divorce/General Domestic Abuse Financial Planning Property Division Spousal Support SEE ALL

Info Categories

Contemplating Divorce Children & Divorce Divorce, Dollars & Debt Divorce Laws Divorce Process Divorce Negotiation SEE ALL

More Information

Articles Checklists Research Center Cases of Interest Dictionary Encyclopedia Encyclopedia (pop-up) Blogs

For Professionals

Advertise With Us Free Network Page Join Our Network Submit Articles Sign In

Network Sites

Rhode Island Divorce Support Rhode Island Divorce Online

Rhode Island Child Custody
Child Custody in Rhode Island

According to Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law, Title 15, Section 15-5-19, the court determines custody when the parents cannot.

Like all jurisdictions, when the Rhode Island court makes child custody decisions, it does so based on the best interests of the child. Rhode Island law breaks child custody into two categories: legal custody, which is the right to make major decisions about the child's upbringing (health care, education and religious training), and what is called "physical placement," which is what most people know as physical custody, or the daily care of the child.

Parents with legal custody may access the child's medical and education records. Normally parents share legal custody of their children, but In certain cases, one parent may have sole legal custody of a child, which means that only that parent makes major decisions about the child's upbringing.

The court may award either or both parents physical placement. The parent who does not have physical placement of the child may have reasonable rights of visitation. In some cases, usually upon the request of both parents, the court will award shared physical placement in which case the child divides his or her time between both parents' homes. Finally, the court may order split physical placement, in which one or more children live with either parent, and siblings do not all live together.

The court exercises great discretion in determining a child's best interests. In so doing, the court considers:

  • the parents' wishes regarding custody;
  • the child's preference, if he or has sufficient understanding to express one;
  • the child's relationship with each parent, as well as with any siblings or others who significantly affect the child's best interest;
  • the child's adjustment to his or her home, school and community;
  • the stability of the child's home environment;
  • the mental and physical health of each parent;
  • the moral fitness of each parent; and
  • the willingness of each parent to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent.

The court is free to consider any other information it finds relevant to the child's best interests. This may often include input from professionals such as therapists, social workers or a guardian ad litem.

Parental Conduct

The Rhode Island courts also consider the conduct of both parents during the course of the marriage, and the impact of parental behavior on the child. Where appropriate, a court may prevent a parent from having visitation with the child or put in place conditions of visitation to protect the welfare of the child.


The Rhode Island courts have full discretion when determining visitation between children and parents. The parent who was not granted custody may obtain reasonable visitation unless it would put the child at risk. If the visitation parent has a history of domestic violence, the court makes arrangements that protect the child and the other parent, including supervised visitation or a bond to ensure the return and safety of the child. The courts can establish visitation, even if both parents agreed upon a no-visitation policy.

Start Rhode Island Divorce Start Your Rhode Island Online Divorce Today
Easy, Fast and Affordable with a 100% Guarantee.
Rhode Island Divorce Find Rhode Island Divorce Professionals in Your Area:
Join the Network
Rhode Island Divorce Products, Services and Solutions Rhode Island Divorce Products, Services and Solutions
Rhode Island Divorce Resources to Help You Through the Process.
Online Parenting Class Rhode Island Mandatory Online Parenting Class
Easy and convenient - complete at your own pace online.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Divorce Bookstore
Over 100 Titles of the Best Books on Divorce & Custody.
Divorce Downloads Divorce Download Center
Instantly Download, Books, Manuals, & Forms.
Divorce Worksheet Free Rhode Island Divorce Worksheet & Separation Agreement
Your Guide to Get Organized and Put Everything in Writing.
Divorce Lawyers & Mediators

Find Professionals

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:


Start Your Divorce File for a Rhode Island Divorce


Settle Your Divorce Negotiate Your Rhode Island Divorce


Support Forum Rhode Island Support Forum

Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site