Divorce Rhode Island Custody

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In a child custody case in Rhode Island, the family court relies tremendously on the opinions of the GAL (Guardian ad litem), DCYF (Department of Children, Youth and Families) report, social workers, psychiatrist and psychologist.

The Supreme Court in this state has ruled that the following must be done prior to reopening or amendment of a final custody decree. The moving party (i.e, the party requesting a change in the custody order) must furnish proof that the circumstances of the parties when the decree was entered have changed to such an extent, that it has become essential to modify this order for the welfare of the child.

Factors considered by court in Divorce Rhode Island Custody

The judge must take into account a combination of and interconnection among all the relevant issues that impact the best interests of the child. A single factor should not become the determinant. Some of these relevant issues are as follows.

  • The capacity and readiness of each parent to promote a continuous and close relationship between the other parent and the child
  • The moral fitness of the father and mother
  • Whether the home ambience in which the child would stay, is stable?
  • The physical and mental health of all the persons related to the child custody case
  • The adjustment of the child in community, at school and in the house
  • The interrelationship and interaction of the child with the following
    • The father
    • The mother
    • The siblings
    • Any other individual who might considerably affect the best interests of the child
  • If the court concludes that the child has adequate understanding, brilliance and experience to form and speak out a preference regarding his/her custody, then the reasonable preference of the child
  • The desires of the father and mother regarding how the custody plan should be
Work of Guardian ad Litem in Divorce Rhode Island Custody

A GAL (Guardian ad Litem) is a person who is a representative of the best interests of the child in a child custody or visitation case. The GAL does not work as a lawyer for the child. It is possible to appoint a GAL in any type of family court action like a custody case, visitation case, divorce case or DCYF case.

The GAL -

  • Does not make the final decision pertaining to legal or physical custody
  • Develops a report that comprises of his/her recommendations and findings. Further, the GAL submits this report to the court
  • Interviews the father and mother
  • Conducts interviews of other witnesses pertaining to the life of the child like
    • Aunts
    • Grandparents
    • Psychiatrists
    • Psychologists
    • Guidance counselors
    • Social workers
    • Teachers
  • Can access all the medical records of the child as well as the parents
  • Is given access to all the records of the child
  • Can recommend that other professionals like psychologists and licensed clinical social workers may get involved in the custody case

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