If you are a parent, you will know the compulsion to protect your child at all costs. This may mean that you are occasionally overprotective of them, but it probably also means that you have an instinct when things are not right.

If you are separated from your child’s other parent, you might have concerns about the other parent’s ability to take good care of them. Perhaps you have witnessed some red flags such as alcohol and drug use, anger or abusive behavior. Whatever the reasons for your concerns, it is important that you take action to ensure that your child is protected no matter what.

How is child custody governed in Rhode Island?

Many states prefer to award joint custody to both parents, since they see it as beneficial for a child to have a strong relationship with both their mother and father if possible. However, Rhode Island is quite unique in the sense that it is rare to award joint custody unless both parties are actively advocating for it.

What should I do if I believe that the other parent is unfit?

No matter what the current custody situation is, the child custody judges always want the child in question to be safe from harm, both mental and physical. Therefore, if you have reason to believe that the other parent is engaging in physical violence or harsh disciplining, you should raise the issue with the courts.

The same is true if you believe that your child’s other parent is abusing drugs or alcohol or if they have been arrested on charges of a sexual offense. You may have other concerns for your child, e.g., you might believe that they are being neglected, left alone for prolonged periods of time or that the parent is suffering from a mental illness and is unable to emotionally be present for them.

If you have safety concerns about the way that your child’s other parent is raising your child, you should try to establish evidence of this. Once you have done this, you can approach your Rhode Island family law attorney and request they file a petition with the court in order to protect your child.