Knowing and understanding child custody law and all of the possible scenarios will help you and your soon-to-be ex find the best solution for your individual situation.
For parents facing divorce, determining a custody agreement is likely the hardest aspect of the process. Alabama child custody law defines custody as legal responsibility for the supervision and care of a minor child and which individuals will have the authority to make the decisions that are required to fulfill that responsibility.
There are two major aspects of child custody: physical and legal. Both of these can be further divided into sole or joint custody.
Physical custody determines where your child lives. In a joint physical custody arrangement, the child spends frequent and continuing contact with both parents; however this does not necessarily mean that the time spent living with each parent is equal. Sole physical custody means that the child lives with one parent and has visitation with the “noncustodial” parent.
For parents facing divorce, determining a custody agreement is likely the hardest aspect of the process. Finding a caring, highly qualified legal professional to handle all the details can make all the difference. Contact The Alabama Law Group today to schedule a consultation.
Legal custody refers to the decision-making authority in a child’s life. Joint legal custody indicates that both parents share in the decision-making process of any medical, educational, and spiritual issues concerning the child. Sole legal custody grants the right to make these decisions to one parent.
Making The Agreement
“Parents can reach a custody agreement informally, via a mediator, or via a judge’s court decision. Regardless of how you plan to reach a custody agreement, you should not negotiate or make any agreements without first seeking legal advice,” Edward Tsui for Expertise.
Coming to an agreement outside of court, with the help of your family law attorneys, is your best option for creating a custody arrangement that will be most custom-fit for your family, work and social schedules. Unfortunately, many times divorcing couples are not able to reach an amicable agreement.
If you and your ex cannot come to an agreement, the terms and decision will be in the hands of a judge who will consider a variety of factors to create an arrangement that serves the best interest of the child.
Factors For Consideration In Determining A Child’s Best Interest
- The child’s gender and age.
- The child’s emotional, social, moral, material, and educational needs.
- The home environments of each parent.
- The characteristics of those seeking custody (usually the parents), such as age, character, stability, and their mental and physical health.
- Each parent’s willingness, ability, and interest to provide for the emotional, social, moral, material, and educational needs of the child.
- The interpersonal relationship between the child and each parent.
- The interpersonal relationship between the child and any other children in the family.
- The impact on the child of disrupting or continuing the current situation.
- The child’s preference if he or she is old and mature enough to offer that opinion.
- Any reports or recommendations of experts or independent investigators.
- Available alternatives and/or other relevant matter that is supported by evidence.
“Violation of visitation rights can have serious consequences. If the violations are continuous, a judge may find the violator to be in contempt of court. In some states, interference with visitation may be a criminal offense. Because visitation rights can be complicated and contentious, if you suspect any violation it’s crucial to speak with an attorney,” says Tsui.
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
Child custody law varies from state to state, but all fifty states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The UCCJEA attempts to minimize or eliminate child custody conflicts from state to state, by allowing each state to recognize and enforce custody orders made in other states. The Act also gives the judge the authority to sign a warrant to take physical possession of the child if the enforcing court is concerned that the parent, who has physical custody of the child, will flee or harm the child. Also, the new uniform act gives a court the duty to enforce a custody determination of another state. A child custody order of another state is not subject to modification.
To learn how Alabama child custody law applies to your situation, contact The Alabama Law Group today. We want to help you create a child custody agreement that supports your rights as a parent.