Fighting for child custody requires a good attorney, especially if your spouse is determined to have full parental rights.
If you are divorcing and have young children, determining custody is required. Having a qualified child custody lawyer on your side will make that process much easier.
Alabama Child Custody
Kristine Jones is our child custody lawyer at The KJ Law Firm. We’re conveniently located in the RSA Dexter Avenue Building in downtown Montgomery, Alabama.
Kristine has the specialized training, knowledge, and experience in Alabama family law to handle temporary, sole, and joint custody cases throughout the state.
What Laws Govern Child Custody in Alabama?
In Alabama, there are two sets of laws that govern child custody:
- Alabama’s own child custody guidelines¹
- The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)²
The UCCJEA requires Alabama to recognize child custody decisions made in another state. The court does allow parents to have joint custody, and grandparents also have full visitation rights.
For children old enough to make their wishes known, the court will seek their opinion and take it into consideration.
What if We Come to our Own Agreement?
If you and your spouse have reached your own agreement regarding custody, the court will listen and, in many cases, accept that arrangement.
Kristine can help you put together a custody agreement with your spouse and present it to the court. If no agreement can be reached, she will put together a case arguing for your rights and the custody agreement you want.
Factors Affecting Child Custody Decisions
Alabama divorce courts consider several factors when determining child custody.
The court will listen to both parents’ arguments and make a decision based on the needs of the child.
The court has a good amount of leeway in these matters, and they don’t always award custody to the parent who makes more money or has the larger home.
Issues that impact which party should receive custody include³:
- Safety and well-being of the child
- Age and gender of the child
- Parental cooperation and proposed parenting plans
- Ability of each parent to provide for the physical, educational, developmental, and emotional needs of the child
- Qualities and traits of each parent seeking custody, including:
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Interpersonal relationship between the child and each parent
- Preference of the child (of sufficient age and maturity)
- Home environments and geographic proximity of parents
- Recommendations by expert witnesses or independent investigators
- Effect on the child of disrupting or continuing an existing custodial status
Courts may consider other relevant matters disclosed by the evidence as well as other reasonable and available alternatives.
How Is Custody Related to Child Support?
Alabama child support law is separate from child custody and treated as two different issues.
The parent who does not have custody may not always be required to pay child support. In the cases of joint custody, one parent may still be required to pay support to the other.
The court will decide the two matters separately.
¹Code of Alabama: Title 30, Chapters 3-1 to 3-200 – External link »
²Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act – External link »
³Source: Children’s Rights Council (CRC) – External link »