When a child’s parents are no longer living together, they may need a child custody or visitation schedule in place to ensure both parents have the opportunity to spend quality time with their child.
However, the different types of child custody and visitation options can vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. Here’s more about how Alabama child custody and visitation schedules work and what you might expect from your child custody case.
Child Custody and Visitation Laws in Alabama
“Children are not possessions. You don’t “allow” the other parent extra time. When you say this, you imply that you think of your children as “things,” not humans.”
Chapter 3, Title 30 in the Code of Alabama notes the laws about Alabama custody and visitation schedules. Below is some general information concerning child custody and visitation.
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Alabama Physical Custody Laws
Physical custody determines where your child lives and how both parents share time with the child. That custody can be joint physical or sole physical custody.
In joint physical custody, the child spends frequent and continuing contact with both parents; however, this type of custody does not necessarily mean that the child spends an equal amount of time with both parents.
With a parent having sole physical custody, the child lives with one parent and visits the other parent.
Legal Custody in Alabama
Legal custody refers to all the major decision making that comes with raising your children. Some of the types of decisions that the child’s legal custodian will make include:
- What schools the children will attend
- In what religion the children will be raised, if any
- What extracurricular activities the children will participate in
- All major medical decisions
- With which family members and friends will the children have relationships
As with physical custody, legal custody can be joint or sole. In joint legal custody agreements, parents will work together to make decisions regarding their children’s upbringing. In sole legal custody arrangements, one parent will have the authority to make all major decisions regarding the children without having to discuss those decisions with the other parent.
Alabama courts will always act in the best interest of the children. This means, in most cases, that they will recommend and encourage families to work out joint custody agreements whenever possible. However, in cases where one parent may be considered a threat to the child in some way — whether that be through physical, emotional, or substance abuse — custody rights may be limited to sole custody or reduced to only visitation rights.
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Alabama Laws Regarding Visitation Rights
Visitation rights are different from custody rights. A parent who retains visitation rights will only have the right to spend quality time with their child at scheduled times. In some cases, visitation may be limited to supervised visits, and further limited to visitation at a designated facility if the parent needs to be closely monitored during visitation times.
Parents who have visitation rights may obtain custody rights at a later time, once they have proven that it is in the best interest of their children to take on important decision making responsibilities and living arrangements.
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How to Get Your Custody & Visitation Schedule
Parents can agree to a custody and visitation schedule and present it to the court. They should include weekday and weekend parenting time, holiday visitation, and summer break details in the schedule. Alabama courts encourage parents to work together to create a schedule in the best interest of the child, and one that gives both parents frequent and continuing contact with the child.
If the parents cannot agree on a custody and visitation schedule, a judge will determine it. Alabama does not have a standard visitation schedule for the entire state. However, many counties, including Madison County, and circuit court judges have a standard schedule they order when the parents cannot come to an agreement on visitation.
A Child Custody and Visitation Lawyer in Alabama Can Help
If you are interested in seeking a child custody or visitation schedule, or if you have an existing schedule that needs to be modified, reach out to a dedicated Alabama child custody and visitation lawyer at Charlotte Christian Law.
Our attorneys understand the emotional toll this takes on both parents and children, and we are here to help you every step of the way.
Schedule your confidential consultation today by completing our online contact form or calling our office to discuss the specific details of your child custody case.