Rhode Island Child Custody Lawyer

Family, Divorce, Criminal Defense Lawyer Susan T. Perkins of Providence, Rhode Island

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Experienced RI Child Custody Lawyer

Top Rhode Island Child Custody Lawyer

When children are involved, a divorce isn’t just a divorce. The process can become much more emotional, stressful, and complicated. Decisions aren’t only made around the dissolution of the marriage, they’re made around a family. If you have children and you’re facing a divorce, it’s important to have a Rhode Island divorce attorney that has extensive experience in child custody laws. Rhode Island child custody lawyer Susan T. Perkins works with you to provide the best possible outcomes for you and your child. 

Rhode Island Child Custody

If you have a child and you’re approaching a divorce, it’s important to understand a few basic things about how Rhode Island handles child custody. First, let’s examine the categories of child custody that exist in Rhode Island. Understanding these categories of custody can help you and your Rhode Island child custody lawyer decide what type of custody is best for you and your child. Rhode Island has two kinds of custody: legal custody and physical custody. These can be broken down into two types of custody: sole custody and shared custody. 


Physical Custody in Rhode Island

Another way of thinking of physical custody in Rhode Island is physical placement. This simply defines where a child will be living. When a parent is granted physical custody, it means that the child will be living with them on a daily basis and their home is the child’s primary home. The parent who is not awarded physical custody will most likely be allowed to schedule visitation rights and will be responsible for paying child support to the physical custody parent. Physical custody can be broken down into sole physical custody and shared physical custody. 

Sole Physical Custody 

Sole physical custody means that the child will remain in one household and live with one parent. The parent, often called the custodial parent, granted sole physical custody is responsible for caring for the child on a daily basis. This parent is responsible for things like providing a safe home, clothes, food, and other daily care. The other parent can be granted visitation rights and be required to pay child support. 

Shared Physical Custody 

Shared physical custody means that a child will split time between both parents and live part-time with one and part-time with the other. While many parents hope for a fifty-fifty split, this can be very difficult to arrange with school schedules, holidays, special events, or other factors. If you feel as though shared physical custody is best for you and your child, it’s important to work with a Rhode Island child custody lawyer with experience in shared physical custody arrangements. Remember that the Rhode Island Family court will always want to base decisions on what’s best for the child.


Legal Custody in Rhode Island 

When a parent is granted legal custody of a child, it means that they’re responsible for all of the major decisions that involve the child’s wellbeing. For instance, legal custody means that a parent is responsible for making decisions like where a child will go to school, their religious affiliations, and what type of medical care they receive. 

Sole Legal Custody

Sole legal custody means that one parent is completely responsible for all major decisions involving the child’s wellbeing, such as school, religion, and medical care. This parent does not need to inform the other parent or receive consent from the other parent when making these decisions. A parent will often fight for sole legal custody if they don’t see the other parent as fit to make these decisions regarding the wellbeing of the child. In these cases, it’s necessary to have a divorce lawyer that specializes in this type of child custody. Fighting for sole legal custody will require providing sufficient evidence to the Rhode Island family court that this is in the best interest of the child. 

Shared Legal Custody 

When parents are awarded shared legal custody, they both work together to make significant decisions involving the child, including school, religion, and medical care, and even decisions like afterschool activities and a nutritional diet. In some cases, this can be a very complicated custody arrangement if there are high-levels of conflict or disagreements on what’s best for the child. If parents are pursuing shared legal custody in Rhode Island, it’s essential to have an action plan. This action plan will detail what the parents plan to do about the child’s education, medical care, religion, and other key decisions regarding the child’s health and development. If you’re interested in taking the shared legal custody route, be sure to work with a trusted Rhode Island child custody attorney that can help you negotiate and settle on these important decisions. 

Married vs. Unmarried Parents in Rhode Island

Not every child custody case involves divorce. There are many parents in Rhode Island that are unmarried but need to turn to the courts to settle child custody or other decisions involving a shared child. These types of cases can become complicated, even without dealing with the process of a divorce. It’s important to work with a lawyer if you’re unmarried and in need of legal assistance regarding the custody of a child. In the state of Rhode Island, an unmarried mother will automatically receive legal and physical custody of a child. In order for a father to be granted rights, a paternity test and other important details will need to be provided to the Rhode Island family court. 

Contact the Best Child Custody Lawyer in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Family court takes child custody arrangements and laws very seriously. A judge will always make decisions based on the best interest of the child. The Rhode Island family court will also aim to preserve the family unit whenever possible. Susan T. Perkins has the experience and the legal background to guide you through any Rhode Island child custody case. After spending years working in divorce and family law, she’s handled various child custody cases and witnessed plenty of different family dynamics. She has the knowledge, understanding, and expertise to bring you the best possible outcome for you and your child. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re unmarried and need legal representation for a child custody case or if you’re planning to divorce and you need assistance with arranging child custody, Susan Perkins can help. Contact our law office today for a free consultation on your child custody case.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Rhode Island Child Custody 

We understand that a child custody case can be a scary and difficult process for any parent. Most parents will be more concerned about what will happen to their relationship with their child rather than the after-effects of a divorce. It can be difficult to predict what will happen throughout a child custody case, especially if both parents disagree on what’s best for the child. However, understanding your rights and the goals of the Rhode Island family court can help. Here are some frequently asked questions that many parents ask when facing a child custody case. These answers can help you feel more confident about moving forward, however — don’t hesitate to call the law office of Rhode Island child custody lawyer Susan T. Perkins to receive personalized and specific information on your child custody case.

Should I hire a lawyer for child custody?

When it comes to the importance of child custody, it’s always recommended to hire a Rhode Island child custody lawyer. There are three main reasons why having a child custody attorney is important. First, determining child custody arrangements can be incredibly emotional for parents. If you’re a parent who has lived full-time with your child since the day they were born, facing the realities of shared physical custody can be devastating for some. It’s essential to have a child custody lawyer that can help you understand the process and make the right decisions for your child when emotions are high. Second, the Rhode Island child custody laws can sometimes appear vague, confusing, or complex. You need to have a strong legal background in child custody laws to complete and file the necessary paperwork, negotiate on child custody details, and present your case to a family court judge. Working with an experienced child custody lawyer can relieve a lot of this stress. Lastly, child custody cases can be time-consuming and most parents facing a custody battle don’t have the resources or spare time to develop a custody strategy or case. When it comes to your child, it’s important to have the best legal representation. 

If have children and you’re planning to divorce or separate from your partner, and you’re not sure if you need to hire a child custody lawyer, contact our law firm of Susan T. Perkins for a free consultation. We can discuss the details of your situation and assure you that you’re making the right choice. 

How is physical custody different from legal custody of a child?

Physical custody refers to where a child will live.  For example, if you and your child’s parent have joint physical custody, you’ll make an arrangement to have your child live with each parent at set times. Legal custody, on the other hand, involves the parent who will be making legal decisions for the child. For instance, a parent with sole legal custody will be the parent that makes important decisions that involve the child’s education, medical care, religious ties, and other foundational decisions. To learn more about child custody, reach out to family lawyer Susan T. Perkins for more information. 

Who makes custody decisions in Rhode Island?

In the best-case scenario, the parents themselves will determine the terms and conditions of a custody arrangement. Rhode Island family court wants the parents to work together to create schedules, plans, visitations, and other major decisions concerning a child. If the parents can’t agree on custody arrangements, a judge might require parents to work with a mediator to settle their differences and arrive at a compromise. Most couples are able to reach child custody agreements with mediators. Having a neutral third-party involved helps each parent negotiate, compromise, and collaborate on an action plan that works best for both sides and the child or children. Of course, mediation doesn’t work for everyone. In situations that have high levels of conflict and or other complicated circumstances, parents may not be able to reach a custody agreement. In these cases, a judge will have to determine the terms and conditions of the physical and legal custody of the child. 

Regardless if you consider your child custody case to be an amicable, difficult, or complex situation with you and your child’s other parent, it’s vital to work with a Rhode Island child custody lawyer with experience. Some parents go into a child custody case with the best intentions, and when the time comes to collaborate and negotiate, things can get surprisingly messy. That’s why you need a trusted child custody attorney by your side to handle any challenge that may present itself. Contact our law office today to learn more about things like mediation in child custody cases. 

What factors will determine a judge’s decision in a child custody case?

When a judge has to make a decision on things like sole custody, he or she will consider many different factors that are in the best interest of the child. Always keep in mind that a Rhode Island family court judge will aim to have both parents involved and create the best-case scenario for the child. The courts prefer for a family unit to remain together whenever possible.

Some of the factors that a judge will take into consideration for a child a custody case are: 

  • The age of the child
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • The child’s relationship with brothers, sisters, or other family members in the household
  • Each of the parent’s willingness and desire to care for the child and obtain custody 
  • The quality of living that each parent can provide
  • The child’s/parent’s home in proximity to school, religious groups, activities, and other important aspects of their community 
  • Each parent’s mental health and physical health 
  • Each parent’s moral and ethical character and beliefs
  • Has either parent been accused of domestic violence?
  • Does either parent have a history of drug or alcohol abuse?
  • Does either parent have a history of mental illness?
  • Each parent’s willingness to involve the other parent and help foster a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent 

For more clarity on how judges determine custody and the factors that are taken into consideration according to the Rhode Island Child Custody Laws, contact Rhode Island Family Attorney and RI child custody lawyer Susan T. Perkins to learn more. 

Can a child express a custody preference in Rhode Island?

Yes, a child can express a custody preference, but only if they can prove that they hold the maturity and clarity to make a sound decision such as which parent they’d prefer to live with. We all know that children mature and develop at different paces. That’s why there’s no set age for a child to have the right to express a preference. Of course, a judge will likely take the preference of an older child or a teenager more seriously than he or she would a second-grader. Nonetheless, a child still holds the right to express a custody preference. 

If you’re concerned about your child being unfairly influenced or pressured to express a custody preference by the other parent, it’s important to speak with a child custody attorney right away. 

Do most divorcing couples get joint custody of children in Rhode Island?

Since the Rhode Island family court aims to keep families together, most cases result in the joint custody of a child. Remember that parents might share custody in various ways. Parents might have shared legal custody, but one parent has sole physical custody. This would mean that both parents have to make major decisions concerning the child’s wellbeing together, but the child lives full time with one parent. Overall, if both parents can prove that they’re fit parents and willing to care for the child, some form of shared custody will most likely occur. 

Do grandparents have rights in Rhode Island?

Sometimes child custody battles can be messy and one parent or the other might feel as though they don’t want their children to visit with grandparents or relatives of their ex-partner for a variety of reasons. However, in these cases, grandparents and relatives of the child can file for a petition through the Rhode Island family court to have visitation rights with their grandchild.

Overall, the grandparents or relatives will have to prove to a judge that spending time with the child is in their best interest. A judge will consider things like the safety and quality of the grandparents’ home environment, their physical and mental health, if there’s a history of abuse, and many other factors before granting visitation rights. 

What should your Rhode Island custody and visitation schedule contain? 

When developing a custody plan and visitation schedule, it’s best to work with your Rhode Island child custody lawyer to narrow down all of the necessary details.

Creating a visitation schedule might appear to be easy at first, but once parents realize they have to sacrifice a lot of holidays, birthdays, and other celebrations, creating a schedule can become tricky. A child visitation schedule should include the days/times in which a child is staying with each parent. A Rhode Island family court will also want to know the parents’ joint plan for holidays and vacations.

Parents can breakdown their visitation schedules in a number of different ways. Some yearly holidays are split down the middle and the child will stay with one parent on Thanksgiving and the 4th of July, and the child will stay with the other parent for Christmas and Easter.

In other cases, a parent might have the child for every holiday one year, and then the other parent will have the child stay with them for every holiday the next year. There are dozens of different ways to breakdown vacations and holidays when it comes to child custody and visitation schedules.

No matter what your preference is for your own time with your child, be sure to work closely with your Rhode Island child custody lawyer when designing these schedules. 

How much does a Rhode Island child custody lawyer cost? 

The cost of a Rhode Island child custody lawyer will vary depending on each individual situation and the lawyer involved. In some cases, when the parents are amicable, they have reached a custody agreement early, and there’s not a high level of conflict, the cost of a custody case can be reasonable. However, if there are high levels of conflict and the parents cannot agree on custody or visitation rights, things will become much more complicated and a child custody case can be costly.

When it comes to your relationship with your child and their experience of living with one parent over another, the process can become stressful, emotional, and sometimes be financially straining. It’s best to work with a child custody lawyer that not only handles child custody agreements and laws but can also help you create a budget so you feel more financially secure going through a divorce and a child custody case. 

Contact our Rhode Island child custody law office to find out more about legal fees concerning your case. 

How does Rhode Island calculate child support payments? 

To assure that all child support payments are created accurately and fairly, Rhode Island uses a set calculator to determine payments. They’ll consider factors like the gross income of both parents, the cost of the child’s health insurance, if one parent is receiving child support from a previous marriage, and the cost of daycare or school tuition. 

What happens if one parent can’t pay child support? 

The Rhode Island laws around child support can be vague and confusing if you don’t have a legal background in child custody and child support laws. However, if a parent can’t afford to pay child support or has missed multiple child support payments due to various reasons, you don’t have to go through it alone. Rhode Island divorce and child custody attorney Susan T. Perkins has years of experience defending the rights of families and children. She also has experience in child support enforcement. She can help you understand the best possible approach to child support payments and work together to make sure your child is getting everything they need. 

Hire the Best Child Custody Lawyer in Rhode Island

When it comes to your child, you want to make the best decision for them moving forward. Rhode Island Family Lawyer Susan T. Perkins understands what parents facing custody battles go through and how stressful these circumstances can be. She treats every parent with the kindness and respect they deserve during these trying times. In addition, she uses her legal expertise to create the best possible custody arrangement for your family. Susan understands the importance of the happiness and welfare of your child. If you’re ready to discuss your child custody details and preferences, contact Susan T. Perkins, the best child custody lawyer in Rhode Island. 

If you have questions about your minor child custody case, parenting plan, child custody agreement, child support order or need to understand the options related to your divorce case or legal matter, Call (401) 324-2990 to schedule a free consultation with Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer and Family Law Attorney Susan T. Perkins.