Child Custody - Protecting Your Rights

If you have minor children and are filing for divorce or a Miscellaneous Petition (if unmarried) for children issues, custody will be a major consideration in need of collaborative resolution or mediation in the process. "Custody" refers to "legal custody" and "physical custody."

Let me start with the idea that I hate the use of the word "visitatiion".  If one parent has primary possession and the other has only "visitation", it sounds like the visiting parent is a second-class citizen.  It sounds that way to a child as well.  I believe that we should use acess when discussing when the children will be with each parent.  Instead of using "visitation", I prefer calling it "Mom's time" or "Dad's time".

  • Legal custody defines parents' major decision-making responsibilities for their children, including educational, religious, medical and dental decisions.
  • Physical custody defines with which parent children live. This is usually referred to as "placement" or a "parenting plan."

Often, children live with one parent ("primary placement") all or most of the time. In most cases, the parent with primary placement shares legal custody with the noncustodial parent. Placement can also be shared. Shared placement may also be known as "joint physical custody." As long as there is joint legal custody, each parent retains his or her legal rights and responsibilities toward the children no matter what the placement schedule might be.

You have options, and your parenting plan will be customized.

At the Office of Steven J. Hirsch, Esq., we guide you through an efficient process to create a parenting plan in the best interests of your children while protecting your parenting rights.

Contact us today in Warwick, Rhode Island, at 401-287-2079 to schedule a consultation with Steven Hirsch.

Gen X and Millennium Couples Divorce

We understand that your life path has differed from those of your parents.  Your goals and lifestyles are different.  The traditional roles played by a mother and a father no longer apply as both parties work out of the house and both are more involved in the care of the children and the home.  This has a great impact upon the roles that each parent wishes to have after a separation.  No longer is the "dad" the person who gets "visitation" on alternate weekends and Wednesday for dinner.  Today, more couples opt to work at an access schedule where both parties have significant time with the children.  However, this shared parenting requires the parties to be able to communicate well and live in the same vacinity.

"I believe that most people view the divorce provisions concerning their children - custody, parenting plans and support - as the most important aspect of a divorce. I consider my children, and grandchildren as the greatest assets and blessings that I have. I often find that when two parents sit together and describe their children to me, they usually agree on the skills and personalities of their children; once they get into that mode of agreement on facts and opinions, they can usually find common ground on what is important and create a parenting plan using the common ground."- Attorney Hirsch

Rhode Island Acccess

"I believe that only inmates at the ACI get "visitation rights." Parents deserve "parenting time" or "access" with their children."

Parental access is the other main portion of a parenting plan. It is an agreement between the parties regarding each parent's time with  a child or the children, including overnight time.  Of course there may be valid reasons why a child may not stay overnight with a parent, such as the parent works third shift or does not live in an environment that is good for the child at the child's then current age.

Concerns with access by both parents involve vacation time, holidays, extracurricular activities, safety and the best interests of children. We can customize your plan with many other factors.

Obtaining Rhode Island Family Court Approval

The Rhode Island Family Court allows and prefers that you agree on a plan for custody and parenting outside of court. Both parents know their child better than the Judge. However, the arrangements are subject to court approval and may be litigated if a fair agreement for the best interests of the child cannot be reached.

You know your children best. Our goal is to help you and your spouse reach an agreement regarding placement and parenting before a court decision is necessary.

Steven Hirsch has more than 40 years of experience as a lawyer representing clients in custody and parenting plan (visitation) matters, and more than 24 years as a family law mediator. Mediation is a constructive and empowering method to reach agreement, keep control of your family's future and ensure that your legal rights are protected. Whether Mr. Hirsch is your lawyer or mediator, his training and experience will guide you towards a positive parenting plan.

Contact Us Today

We return phone calls and emails promptly and respect your time. Contact us by email or by phone at 401-287-2079 to schedule a consultation with East Greenwich-area child custody attorney Steven Hirsch.