10 Rhode Island Child Custody and Divorce Tips

A Rhode Island child custody attorney sets forth 10 important divorce and custody tips to help clients navigate through the complex process of Providence Family Court.


10 Family Court tips

Important Family Court tips:

  1. Never make negative or disparaging remarks about the other parent in front of the minor child or children. Never allow third parties to make negative or disparaging comments about the other parent or their family in front of the children. These negative remarks can be very harmful to children and the minor child’s their relationship with the other parent
  2. Win your Rhode Island child custody case in the courtroom. Do not try to prevail in the case on twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Social media commentary concerning your custody cause of action or concerning the other parent can be very damaging to your Providence Family Court custody battle.
  3. Do not use any drugs during the custody litigation. You are always subject to a drug test in RI family Court. This includes marijuana even though it is a civil offense in many states. Most judges believe parental use of marijuana is not in the best interest of the minor child.
  4. In your divorce, Rhode Island child custody, child visitation or family law case always treat court personnel, court clerks, sheriffs, court investigators with great respect and dignity. If you act disrespectful to court employees, the judge will usually find out about it and will have a negative perception of you.
  5. Dress appropriately for your day in Rhode Island Family Court. Do not overdress because it makes you look like you are fake and trying too hard. Dress business casual. Cover over all tattoos if possible.
  6. Always speak about what is best for your children, not what is best for you. The legal standard for child custody in Rhode Island is the “best interest of the child”
  7. Always agree to try mediation. It is crucial that the judge believes you are attempting to settle the matter before the judge uses valuable court resources to decide your cause of action
  8. Never interrupt the judge while the judge is speaking. This is rude and disrespectful.
  9. Do not exaggerate and lose credibility with the judge. If the Providence Family Court Judge or Magistrate does not believe what you are selling, then you have some real problems
  10. It is a bad idea to represent yourself in Providence Family court without the assistance of a Rhode Island divorce lawyer or a Rhode Island child custody attorney.
  11. Do not videotape your child or record your child in any way related to the Family law case. Judges do not like this.                                                                     More info

Does the Rhode Island Paternity statute address custody and visitation?

R.I.G. L section 15-8-3 is the paternity statute in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.  RI law 15-8-3 makes it clear that a paternity order in RI can address issues of child custody, visitation and  RI child support.

(c) The judgment or order may contain any other provision directed against the appropriate party to the proceeding, concerning the duty of support, the custody and guardianship of the child, visitation privileges with the child, or any other matter in the best interest of the child. The judgment or order may direct the father to pay the reasonable expenses of the mother’s pregnancy and confinement.

(d) Support judgments or orders may be for periodic payments which may vary in amount. In determining the amount to be paid by a parent for support of the child and the period during which the duty of support is owed, the court shall consider all relevant facts, including:”

If you are in need of a RI paternity lawyer, contact RI paternity attorney, David Slepkow. A paternity lawyer in Rhode Island will make sure your legal rights are protected.

Does Rhode Island have any presumptions of paternity?

Yes. If a child is born during a marriage, the husband is presumed to be the biological father of the child.

§ 15-8-3. Presumption of paternity. 

(a) A man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if:

(1) He and the child’s natural mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage, or within three hundred (300) days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce, or after a decree of separation is entered by a court;

(2) Before the child’s birth, he and the child’s natural mother have attempted to marry each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and:

(i) If the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage, or within three hundred (300) days after its termination by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce; or

(ii) If the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within three hundred (300) days after the termination of cohabitation;

(3) After the child’s birth, he and the child’s natural mother have married, or attempted to marry, each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage could be declared invalid, and:

(i) He has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the clerk of the family court;

(ii) With his consent, he is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate; or

(iii) He is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order;

(4) He acknowledges his paternity of the child in a writing filed with the clerk of the family court, who shall promptly inform the mother of the filing of the acknowledgement, and she does not dispute the acknowledgement, within a reasonable time after being informed, in a writing filed with the clerk of the family court. If another man is presumed under this section to be the child’s father, acknowledgement may be effected only with the written consent of the presumed father or after the presumption has been rebutted. The written acknowledgement of paternity shall be admissible as evidence of paternity;

(5) He has submitted to blood testing and the results establish a conclusive presumption in accordance with § 15-8-11(e); or

(6) A sworn acknowledgment of paternity of a child born out of wedlock is signed by both parents on forms prescribed in accordance with § 23-3-9, either at the department of human services or division of taxation within the department of administration, and is forwarded to the state registrar of vital records for the purpose of amending the birth certificate. Before signing the sworn acknowledgment of paternity, the parents shall be given written notice of their respective rights and responsibilities. The sworn acknowledgment of paternity becomes a conclusive presumption if there is no court challenge to this acknowledgement within sixty (60) days of the signing of this acknowledgment. The only defenses which may be raised to the signing of this acknowledgment after the sixty (60) day period are fraud, duress or mistake of fact.

(b) Except for a conclusive presumption under subdivisions (a)(5) and (a)(6) of this section, a presumption under this section may be rebutted in an appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence. If two (2) or more presumptions arise which conflict with each other, the presumption, which on its facts, is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic controls. The presumption is rebutted by a court decree establishing paternity of the child by another man.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1979, ch. 185, § 2; P.L. 1994, ch. 236, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 129, § 3; P.L. 1996, ch. 131, § 3; P.L. 1996, ch. 132, § 3; P.L. 1996, ch. 133, § 3; P.L. 1997, ch. 170, § 2.)