6 Key Factors Alabama Courts Consider in Child Custody Cases

Going through a divorce can be a difficult process, and when you have children to take into consideration, it can become even more complex. In the state of Alabama, child custody is never a cut and dry issue. Multiple factors can contribute to the decision about who gets custody, or if custody is shared equally. It’s generally the court’s preference that custody is shared between both parents, but with other factors at play, that’s not always the case. Here are some of the influencing factors when it comes to child custody decisions:


  • Home environment – Since each child and each home is so unique, this piece is an important part of determining custody. All aspects of the home life will be investigated, from the location, to the parent’s work schedule, and so forth. Obviously the more stable and appropriate the home life is, the greater the chance of that parent receiving custody.
  • Personal relationships – If your teenage daughter doesn’t respect your authority and your relationship with her is volatile, there’s a good chance you will not receive custody. Again, the child’s ability to flourish is what’s most important, and if living with one parent will be too much of a stressor, that will influence the court’s decision.
  • Parental interest – Sometimes one parent simply isn’t interested in maintaining the responsibility of child raising. If one of the two parties is essentially checking out, naturally the other parent would receive custody.
  • Mental health and stability – Does one parent constantly jump from job to job and have frequent stints in jail? What about excessive alcohol or drug use? While it might seem obvious that this behavior isn’t best suited for receiving custody, it’s still an important piece of the complex puzzle.
  • Child preference – This might not be a well-known occurrence, but when the children involved are mature enough and old enough to have input, the court will take their preferences into consideration. Often times they will choose one parent over another as a result of their relationship, attachment to their home, or not wanting to move to a different school.
  • Expert opinions – In cases where it might be too difficult for a court to make a decision, the influence of outside experts is often utilized. Private investigators or even friends and family can submit a report regarding which parent might be best suited to receive custody.


If you live in Alabama and are currently trying to navigate through child custody issues, contact the professionals at John Totten Law. We will work with you on your case to help achieve the most desirable outcome.

John M. Totten