Rhode Island Visitation Lawyer
Visitation Rights for Non-Custodial Parents
According to section 15-5-16(d)(1) of the Rhode Island Domestic Relations Code:
(d)(1) In regulating the custody of the children, the court shall provide for the reasonable right of visitation by the natural parent not having custody of the children...In the event of noncompliance, the noncustodial parent may file a motion for contempt in family court. Upon a finding by the court that its order for visitation has not been complied with, the court shall exercise its discretion in providing a remedy, and define the noncustodial parent's visitation in detail. However, if a second finding of noncompliance by the court is made, the court shall consider this to be grounds for a change of custody to the noncustodial parent.
This means that:
- The non-custodial parent has a reasonable right to visitation unless there is cause to believe that visitation rights should not be granted per (d)(4) of this statute.
- If the court finds that the custodial parent is not complying with the visitation orders, the court can provide a remedy at its discretion.
- If there is a second instance of noncompliance on the part of the custodial parent, the court could even consider this grounds for changing custody over to the non-custodial parent.
Reasons Visitation Rights Can Be Taken Away
Per (d)(4) of section 15-5-16, certain parents may be denied the right to visitation if they have been convicted or pled nolo contendere to a violation of any of the following or a related sex offense:
- §§ 11-37-2 – First degree sexual assault
- §§ 11-37-4 – Second degree sexual assault
- §§ 11-37-8.1 – First degree child molestation sexual assault
Even if the court learns that a parent has physically or sexually abused their child, they will review the case at least once per year to determine what (if any) steps that parent has taken to rehabilitate him or herself. If the court determines that the necessary rehabilitation has taken place and that visitation would be in the child’s best interests, they may allow it. The court may also require the non-custodial parent who has been denied visitation to take part in counseling.
Visitation & Domestic Violence
According to (g)(1) of this statute, the court will also consider domestic violence as evidence. If domestic violence has been proven, the court will grant custody and visitation agreements that best protect the child from harm by the abusive parent.
Some actions that the court might take in visitation cases that involve domestic violence include:
- Ordering the accused to complete a certified batterer’s intervention program
- Ordering the accused to attend a substance abuse program
- Require a bond (to ensure the child is returned safely)
- Order that the child’s address and phone number be hidden
- Order that the exchange of the child occur in a protected or supervised setting
- Require that the accused not possess or consume any alcohol or controlled substances
Protection for Parents in the Military
The state of Rhode Island protects its military parents from losing their right to visitation or custody purely on the grounds that they are absent for service. If you are currently deployed and therefore cannot reside with or near your children, that alone is insufficient cause to lose your right to custody or visitation.
Contact McIntyre Tate LLP to Discuss Your Visitation Case
If you would like to inquire about legal representation for a visitation matter, we invite you to contact an attorney at McIntyre Tate LLP today! Our team of compassionate counselors are here to ensure that you get the most favorable outcome possible.