People have many different concerns when they are dealing with a divorce in Alabama, but few areas are as important to parents as custody of children. Both parents involved in a divorce naturally will have strong feelings about their custody rights. Disputes could lead to lengthy court battles.
In the end, a court is going to do whatever it deems to be in the child’s best interests. If you are entering any type of divorce in the greater Huntsville area and have concerns about child custody, it will likely be very difficult to accomplish a workable agreement on your own. You need to have an experienced divorce attorney to advocate for what’s best for your family.
Leigh Daniel Family Law understands the tremendous stress that child custody issues can place on parents and children. We work to help ease the burden and seek the most favorable possible resolution to your case. Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation now.
Child Custody During Divorce
During a divorce, you will largely be focusing on two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is also known as residential custody. It refers to which parent a child will be living with, while legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make decisions on behalf of a child related to their medical care, education and other important matters.
Alabama Code § 30-3-150 establishes that it is the policy of the state “to assure that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of their children and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of rearing their children after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.”
Alabama courts are allowed to consider a child’s desires relating to custody when a child is deemed mature enough to make such a decision, but the court may go against the preference when it believes such a decision is not in the child’s best interest.
What Are the Different Types of Child Custody Options?
Most child custody agreements are classified into one of the following categories:
- Joint Legal Custody — Both parents have equal responsibility for decisions regarding a child’s medical care and education.
- Joint Physical Custody — Both parents have the right to maintain regular contact with the child and to contribute to their living situation.
- Sole Legal Custody — One parent is given exclusive rights to make decisions about the child’s medical care and education.
- Sole Physical Custody — One parent is given exclusive rights to live with the child. The other parent may be granted visitation rights.
Some cases could also involve so-called “bird’s nest custody,” in which a child lives in a central location in which the parents rotate in and out of on a regular schedule. These agreements are relatively rare since they often require three separate residences.
Child Custody and Visitation in Huntsville
The most common type of visitation is usually unsupervised visitation, in which the noncustodial parent is allowed to take a child to their own home or other outings. Certain limitations may be involved and are customarily specified in advance.
In some cases, courts may require supervised visitation, under which another responsible adult will need to be present during the noncustodial parent’s visit. The responsible adult could be a grandparent or friend of the family, but it could also be an appointed social worker or court-ordered designee.
While it is not ideal in terms of physical contact, virtual visitation may also be used in some cases. Virtual visitation may be used in cases in which parents divorce and one parent leaves the state.
How a Huntsville Child Custody Lawyer Can Help with Custody and Visitation
Do you need help with a child custody dispute in your divorce in Huntsville? Make sure you contact Leigh Daniel Family Law as soon as possible.
Our firm can develop a strategy tailored to your goals and will work closely with you throughout the entire process. You can have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call us or contact us online to set up a free consultation.