Going through a divorce can be a complex and exhausting experience for a couple. It requires legal matters to be handled before each spouse may move forward with their lives. One of the most important parts of divorce proceedings is handling the issue of child custody. In some cases, parents are able to reach a decision regarding child custody on their own without having to go to court. Other times, parents have difficulty agreeing and argue over a custody arrangement. When parents are making decisions about custody for a child, it is important to know the different options available to them in Alabama.
When a parent is awarded physical custody, sometimes referred to as residential custody, it means the child spends the majority of their time with them. The arrangement allows this parent the right to have the child live with them and dictate their everyday life, in addition to the visitation times of the other parent involved. The parent with physical custody is also the “custodial” parent or the primary caretaker.
Legal custody allows both parents to be involved in their child’s life. Having legal custody of a child is important, as it gives parents the opportunity to have influence in the child’s life. Legal custody lets a parent be involved in the decision-making process for the child. These decisions may involve healthcare, religion, academics, and the general welfare of the child.
Courts typically encourage both parents to be involved in their child’s life. They believe it is in the child’s best interest to have an ongoing relationship with both of their parents. This is done best when parents share the rights and responsibilities of taking care of the child even after they are divorced. With that said, the court understands that this may not always be possible. They take several factors into consideration when coming to this conclusion:
- Any joint custody agreement already in place
- Both parents’ ability to cooperate
- Both parents’ ability to maintain a positive relationship with the child and the other parent
- Any history of abuse, domestic violence, or kidnapping
- The geographic proximity of the parents
When sole custody is awarded to a parent, it means they have both legal and physical custody of the child. While this type of custody is possible, it is usually rare. Sole custody may be given to one parent if the other is deemed “unfit” or if they have the potential to endanger the child. It is important to know that even cases such as these, the other parent is still allowed visitation rights.
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If you or a family member is going through a divorce and seeking legal representation for child custody, contact the Law Offices of Stone Crosby, P.C. today.
Stone Crosby, P.C. has proudly served clients in Alabama for over 100 years. Our firm has experience handling matters including divorce and family law, estate planning and administration, business law, employment law, class actions, consumer protection, business law, real estate law, among many others. If you require quality legal representation, contact our firmtoday to schedule a consultation.