Alabama Family Law: An Overview of Alabama’s Child Custody Laws

If you are going through a divorce or have a child outside of wedlock, determining the custody arrangement for the child is very important. In Alabama, the courts will work with the parents to determine how the division of child custody will work in any particular case. The main goal of the courts is to provide for the best interests of the children involved, but each individual judge has a lot of leeway in making this decision. Understanding the various child custody laws in Alabama will help you to know what to expect.

Child Custody and Support

To read the full laws on the books that cover both child custody and child support, you will want to look at the Code of Alabama 30-3-1. Additionally, however, it is important to note that Alabama has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which states that they will honor and enforce all child custody orders that are made by courts in other states. This means that if you are moving to Alabama from another state, your existing order will remain in effect even if it differs from Alabama’s law.

Making Your Own Agreement

For many parents that are divorcing or otherwise need a child custody order, it is possible to come up with an arrangement on their own. Alabama allows, and even encourages, this type of thing. Coming up with a way to split parenting time between the parents often allows them to make a schedule that works out for everyone. Once the agreement has been made, the courts will review it and enter it into effect. The courts generally approve all orders like this unless there is some type of obvious problem. If you can’t come up with your own child custody arrangement, the courts will step in and make one for you.

Joint Custody

Joint custody of some type is typically encouraged unless there is a concern about the child’s safety with one of the parents. Joint custody does not mean that each parent will get equal parenting time, however. Instead, the courts will divide up the parenting time in the way that they feel is in the best interest of the child.

What Does the Child Want?

Alabama is one of many states that will take the desires of the children into account when ruling on child custody. If your child is old enough to give their opinion on the child custody arrangement, the courts will listen to what they have to say and factor that into their ruling.

Grandparent Rights

Another thing to note about child custody laws in Alabama is that they do recognize the visitation rights of grandparents. This means that grandparents can petition the courts to demand regular visits with their grandchildren.

Fight for Your Rights

Given the fact that judges have such a large amount of flexibility when determining child custody, you need to be able to make a strong case for the arrangement you want. Contact us to schedule a consultation and discuss your specific situation.

John M. Totten
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