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Child Custody

You have a right to be there for your child and your child deserves to have you there.

Child custody is perhaps the most important issue for parties in an Alabama divorce, modification, or non-parental child custody issue, and also the most litigated issue. No matter what the circumstances are in the custody dispute with the parent of your spouse, it is vital to know your rights and options.

Custodial Rights in Divorce.

In the State of Alabama, a child’s residential schedule and other parental rights and responsibilities are typically addressed in a Settlement Agreement, when uncontested, or in a Final Decree of Divorce/Court Order, when contested.

Alabama Code Section 30-3-1 directs courts in divorce proceedings to:

Give the custody and education of the children of the marriage to either fathers or mothers, as may seem right and proper, having regard to the moral character and prudence of the parents and the age and sex of the children; and pending the action, may make such orders in respect to the custody of the children as their safety and well-being may require.

Independent of said statute, however, the courts have the inherent power to enter orders for the custody and care of minor children. In determining the proper custodial arrangements, the court’s responsibility is to ensure that the custodial arrangements serve the best interests of the minor child.

Legal and Physical Custody.

It is important to understand that the term “custody” refers not only to physical possession of the minor children, but also to the parties’ respective abilities to make important decisions on matters affecting the children. This distinction is referred to as the physical and legal custody of children.