Alabama has unique laws governing child custody which you need to understand
if you are going through a divorce or custody battle. The trusted Birmingham
child custody lawyer at Gossman Law Firm, LLC can offer you needed legal
advice during this difficult time so your parental rights are respected.
The following are some common questions regarding child custody. Further
questions can be directed our office, where we offer a
free initial consultation.
What determines how the court will rule?
The primary concern of the court is the best interests of the child. To
this end, the court will look at all relevant factors concerning the child’s
wellbeing in deciding how custody ought to work.
Such factors include:
- The child’s age and gender
- The child’s needs
- Both parent’s age, character, stability, health, capacity, and ability
to meet their child’s needs
- Each parent’s relationship with the child
- The home environment each parent can offer the child
- The child’s preference if of sufficient age
What is joint custody?
The court typically assumes the child’s interests are best served
by maintaining as much equal contact with both parents as possible and
so will lean towards awarding join custody to both parents. This will
mean both parents will share in the right to make major decisions in their
child’s life including their schooling and healthcare choices.
Will joint custody always be awarded?
If there is a significant reason to restrict one parent’s access
to their child such as domestic violence, the court can award sole custody
to the other parent.
In determine if sole custody is a viable option, the court will look at:
- If the parents agree to joint custody
- If the parents have shown they can work together
- If each parent can foster a good relationship between the child and other parent
- Any history of inappropriate behavior by either parent
- The physical proximity of the parents’ homes
Can my children have their own representation appointed by the court?
The court can appoint your children an attorney if it feels they need
it. This attorney is called a guardian ad litem (GAL) and are chosen by
the judge to only represent the children’s interests. Both parents
will usually pay the GAL a fee.
When can my children decide who they wish to live with?
State law gives the court the power to decide custody cases. They may
choose to hear the child’s wishes, but the child does not get to
choose where to live.