In Alabama, as in other parts of the country, there are certain issues that accompany divorce. As a Birmingham divorce and family law attorney, my office handles all aspects of legal separation, divorce, marital agreements and other legal matters affecting couples in Birmingham and the surrounding area. Anyone with kids who is going through or contemplating a divorce should consider the laws governing custody and visitation rights.
Custody in Alabama
The law provides for three different types of child custody: That of temporary custody, physical custody and, of course, legal custody. In Alabama, the courts typically encourage folks to share responsibility for their children by ordering joint custody whenever practical and physically possible. However, numerous factors must be considered before making this judgment.
It's important to note that the courts in Birmingham, Montgomery and other cities and towns throughout the state are always able to deviate from the general rule as long as it is in the best interest of the child (or children).
This approach to custody, temporary, is exactly what it sounds like. Usually when a couple with children at home files for a divorce, the court will automatically enter and order for temporary child custody. This is just for the duration of the proceedings so that the children's immediate interests are addressed, but the final custody decision always overrides this order at the conclusion of the divorce. The marital agreement should include the court's final custody and visitation order.
The final marital agreement will include a legal child custody order. Joint legal custody means that both parents make the major decisions that affect any children the couple may have. Naturally, the courts look for a cooperative attitude between the parents to ensure that the decisions will be made jointly and in the best interest of the children.
Alabama Joint Custody
An important point to make here is that the State of Alabama has a policy, which is governed by Alabama law that encourages the court to order joint custody in all custody cases, but allows the courts to deviate from that rule if it is in the best of the children.
If it deviates a court wishes to deviate from public policy, the court must state its findings in the record.
These are all practical considerations for any spouse to consider when children are involved. I always encourage people in this difficult time of their lives to consult early with a qualified divorce and family law attorney. A qualified legal expert can explain the various forms of custody, and answer any other questions you may have about divorce, custody or visitation orders.