Rhode Island Child Custody: Relocation of a Child

In 2004, the Rhode Island Supreme Court heard a petition from a parent seeking to prevent his child from being relocated outside the country. That case – Dupre v. Dupre – formed the basis for all later decisions on child relocation in Rhode Island. In its final ruling, the court stated that the parent who wants to relocate a child does not have to prove that he or she has a compelling reason to do so, but must prove that the move is in the best interest of the child.

The State Supreme Court identified eight factors that must be considered when determining whether relocation is in the child's best interest:

  1. The nature of the child's relationship (quality and extent of involvement) with each parent and with other significant people in the child's life, such as siblings, grandparents, extended family and friends

  2. The age and needs of the child and the likely impact that relocation will have on the child emotionally, physically and educationally

  3. relocation will affect the relationship the child has with the non-relocating parent. Can suitable visitation arrangements be made given logistics and financial considerations?

  4. The child's preference regarding which parent he or she wishes to live with (taking into account the child's age and maturity)

  5. Whether there is reason to believe that the parent who is seeking relocation of a child is doing so to damage or interfere with the other parent's relationship with the child

  6. Whether the relocation will benefit the child in terms of general quality of life, financially and emotionally

  7. Why the parent is seeking to relocate with the child or why the parent is opposing the relocation, and

  8. Any other factors that cause the parent to think the move is in the best interest of the child.

You Can Fight Child Relocation

Nationally and in Rhode Island, there is a trend to approve the relocation of a child. That does not mean you can't fight back and win if you can prove that your child would do better remaining in place. Providence child custody lawyer Stephen G. Linder has more than 30 years of experience handling child custody cases in Rhode Island.

One of the more complex child relocation cases our firm handled involved a de facto parent – a man who lived with a woman and helped raise her child from age 1 to age 7. The man was very involved in the life of the young boy, acting as the boy's father. They did many things together. When the mother moved to Florida, without asking the court's permission, our firm took the man's case to court and won visitation rights in RI.

Whether you are seeking to relocate out of state with your child or you want to assert your rights as a parent to prevent the relocation of your child, we can help you bring a strong, compelling case. Contact our Providence law office to schedule a consultation.