For a parent, ensuring the well-being and happiness of their children is one of the most important concerns in their life.
At The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates, we know how crucial it is to seek the best possible outcome in a child custody case. We’re here to help ensure that your rights are protected, your best interests are spoken for, and what’s best for you and your child is front and center.
Let a Birmingham child custody lawyer help you navigate your case. We can assist you whether you’re facing a divorce, need to modify a child custody order, or you’re a relative seeking child custody or visitation rights. We can also handle child support cases.
Why Work With The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates for Your Child Custody Needs?
At The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates, we know that going through child custody matters is emotional and stressful. You want the best possible outcome for your child—and we want to help you get just that.
We work hard to serve and support our clients through many types of family law matters. We work with couples facing divorce, including high-asset and military divorce. We also help individuals in alimony cases. Because we work with many areas of family law, we bring a deeply informed legal perspective to your child custody concerns.
When you hire our team, you can expect a team both caring and tenacious in legal representation. Charlotte Christian, the founder of our firm, has dealt first-hand with family loss and is passionate about supporting and guiding people through this difficult time in their lives.
What You Should Know About Child Custody in a Birmingham Divorce
A divorcing couple must navigate many important legal matters, and child custody decisions can prove especially challenging. A Birmingham, Alabama child custody lawyer from The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates can help you understand what child custody entails and discuss your options for custody. We can also help you resolve child custody disputes, representing you in mediation or before a judge.
What Is Child Custody?
In Alabama, child custody includes two aspects: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to who makes decisions about a child’s life, such as where they go to school, healthcare matters, religious upbringing, and other matters. Physical custody refers to where a child lives.
This means that parents can arrange custody in several ways.
While both parents can share legal custody and make important determinations for their child’s well-being, the children may live primarily with one parent. Alternatively, the children can live with both parents equally, and both parents can determine legal issues related to their children’s upbringing.
Alabama courts believe that both parents should be actively engaged in their child’s lives and provide for their well-being. However, other arrangements can be made if necessary.
Types of Custody Arrangements in Birmingham
- Sole custody: In cases where one parent cannot adequately care for a child, the other parent may seek sole custody. However, the non-custodial parent will typically have a right to visitation.
- Joint custody: Typically, joint custody is arranged as long as both parents are capable of caring for the child and live close enough to each other that joint custody proves feasible.
- Visitation: When one parent has sole custody, the other parent can still visit the child. When the non-custodial parent lives out of state, visitation can take place over longer periods during the child’s school breaks. If the courts believe the child faces safety concerns with the non-custodial parent, visitation can be supervised in a state-run facility or with a family member.
Contested Child Custody Cases
Both parents often agree on child custody arrangements during a divorce. If they do not dispute any issues involved in child custody, they may not need to involve the courts in these matters. For example, the courts don’t need to make custody determinations if the couple has an undisputed divorce.
However, when one parent files for divorce and submits their request for child custody arrangements, the other parent may dispute their wishes. This would make for a contested divorce.
Contested divorces, including contested child custody matters, will go before an Alabama judge. The court will then decide custody based on the child’s best interests.
How the Alabama Courts Determine the Child’s Best Interests
The court will consider a variety of factors when determining the child’s best interests, including:
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs
- The child’s gender and age
- The child’s educational and emotional needs
- Each parent’s relationship with the child or children
- The home environment provided by each parent
- Evidence brought by each party’s lawyers, such as expert testimony
- How any major changes to a child’s life or living environment could affect them
If the child shows a certain level of maturity, the judge may also consider the child’s wishes.
We can ensure that the judge understands your perspective, hears your concerns, and receives evidence of your side of the story. We can also convey what you believe to be your child’s best interests.
Modifying a Child Custody Order in Birmingham, Alabama
Things can change for both former spouses and their children after a divorce. As children grow up, their social and emotional needs change. One parent may move to take a job out of state. Another parent may lose their job. All of these matters can prove significant enough to warrant a change in the original child custody order.
Our experienced child custody lawyers in Birmingham, Alabama can:
- Advise you about whether the life change necessities a modification
- Discuss how the child custody arrangement should be revised
- Notify the other parent involved to move forward with the modification
- Help you submit the necessary paperwork
- Represent you before a judge to present necessary evidence of the life change
- Fight for a successful resolution in your favor
How Child Support Payments Work in Birmingham, Alabama
In many situations, one parent will need to make child support payments to the other parent following a Birmingham divorce. While a couple can negotiate many legal aspects of a divorce in uncontested cases, such as child custody arrangements, they cannot negotiate child support payments.
The state of Alabama uses specific guidelines to determine what a parent should pay for child support.
These factors could influence whether you make this financial contribution or receive it:
- The incomes of each parent
- The cost of the child’s needs, such as healthcare and education
- How many children the couple has
- Whether one parent has primary or sole physical custody
Often, if one parent has primary or sole custody, the courts assume that they will provide many of the child’s daily financial necessities, such as food and clothing. Thus, the courts often require that the non-custodial parent pay child support, depending on their income.
While some think that the father must pay child support to the mother, the courts no longer abide by this assumption. The parents’ gender does not play a role. Instead, child support calculations come from the above financial factors and the children’s needs.
If you have trouble getting a former spouse to pay child support following a divorce, our child custody lawyers in Birmingham, AL can help.
For a free legal consultation with a child custody attorney serving Birmingham, Alabama, call (256) 859-7277
How Our Attorneys Can Help You With Your Child Custody Matters
Child custody cases are complex legal matters—and they can be emotionally fraught for parents. Our Birmingham child custody attorneys understand this and can walk you through the entire process of determining child custody.
Our Birmingham child custody lawyers can:
Gather Evidence to Show Your Side of the Case
In a Birmingham child custody case, you may need to provide several forms of evidence to make your case before a judge. Our attorneys can help you understand what information you’ll need and help collect evidence.
You may need to show:
- Financial documents to demonstrate your employment and income
- Evidence of your character or the other parent’s character
- Evidence of your relationship with the children or the other parent’s relationship
- Expert witness statements (for example, from a psychologist or a social worker)
Many other forms of evidence can help build your case. Our family law attorneys can guide you in this task and give voice to your best interests.
Seek the Best Outcome for You
Whether you need to go to mediation or appear before a judge, our attorneys can represent you. We know how to present your case and can ensure that all parties hear your interests and concerns. We can pursue certain strategies to help you seek the best outcome.
Offer You a Third-Party’s Perspective
When representing yourself in a child custody or divorce case, it’s easy to make decisions quickly without understanding their full potential consequences.
Because these cases are emotionally charged, our attorneys can also offer you a neutral perspective as you make choices in your case. This can help you ensure that your actions are informed, well-considered, and may benefit you and your family over the long term.
Handle Any Challenges in Your Custody Case
Sometimes, you can face certain common challenges in a child custody case that don’t feel fair. For instance, the other party may try to make untrue allegations about your character or abilities as a parent to seek their desired outcome. Our team can handle these challenges for you.
Alternatively, you could be facing a case with an abusive spouse. Our attorneys can counsel you on how to safely proceed and represent your voice so that you don’t have to stand up to these challenges alone.
Frequently Asked Questions in an Alabama Divorce
Our Birmingham child custody lawyers know that a divorce is often confusing, intimidating, and complicated. We can help you understand all the legalese and ensure you get the clear answers you need.
When Do I Need to Secure a Paternity Test?
In some cases, you may need to use a paternity test to demonstrate your parental rights. In child support matters, paternity tests can also show whether one parent must pay child support.
We can help if you need to secure a paternity test for legal matters related to a child custody or support case.
How Does a Fault-Based Divorce Affect Child Custody?
You may be filing a fault-based divorce, or you may be the defendant in a fault-based case. In a fault-based divorce, one party alleges that the other spouse was responsible for the marriage’s end. The filing spouse may say that the defendant abused drugs or alcohol, was physically or emotionally abusive, committed adultery, or abandoned the family.
If the case goes to court, a judge can consider whether these claims are true and how they could affect the couple’s children. The court awards custody based on the child’s best interests. If the children could face harm, the judge may act to protect them.
Will Custody Go to the Mother Automatically?
No. Some fathers may be concerned about their ability to retain custody of their children after a divorce, and many mothers wish to have as full of a right to custody as possible. However, if a child custody case goes before a judge, the Alabama courts will not automatically award custody to a mother. As mentioned, the courts prioritize arrangements where both parents can play an active role in their child’s lives and upbringing.
Contact The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates for a Child Custody Case Review
Let our team help you navigate your child custody case. We can stand beside you as you move forward toward the next chapter in your life. We can fight for you and your children’s best interests and ensure you feel supported throughout the entire legal process.
The consultation is confidential and comes with no obligation.
The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates Birmingham Office Location:120 19th St N Suite 237
Birmingham, AL 35203