Divorce may be one of life’s harshest experiences, but it is nothing in comparison to the effect that separation can have on children. Parents do themselves and their children a favor when they understand the applicable laws for child custody. Here are some answers to common child custody questions in Rhode Island to help parents understand this legal topic better:

What are the most important factors in custody decisions?

Family court judges take the life of a child very seriously and are always trying to fulfill the best options for him or her. Parents’ wishes are considered, but the best interests of the child concerned are more important to a court’s ruling. A child’s ability to adapt to a new lifestyle is also vital, as well as any physical and mental limitations one of the parents or the child may face.

Is joint custody a possibility?

Sole custody gives full responsibility and decision-making abilities to one parent after a separation or divorce. Joint custody splits these privileges between both parents. Rhode Island allows for this possibility if parents can cooperate on issues surrounding the children but rarely insists on joint custody.

Do children get to choose their custody arrangement?

Children are not considered capable of this decision on their own, but a court will take a child’s wishes into account. This is especially true if a child is found to be mature enough to consider the consequences of his or her decision.

Are the rights of other family members recognized?

Rhode Island law recognizes visitation rights for biological grandparents. All other rights are subject to the ruling of the court. Any interested party or family member hoping to assert his or her child custody or visitation rights may consult a lawyer about the best legal approach to the issue.