You and your spouse have come to the realization that your marriage has reached its end and it’s time to file for divorce. While the two of you might be in agreement on that, you may not see eye to eye when it comes to the custody of your children. Although you might be thinking you are fit and capable of caring for your kids alone, your spouse (soon to be ex-spouse) might be thinking the same thing. And if he/she has already threatened that they intend on fighting you for full custody (sole custody), it’s time for you to lawyer up.
Hiring an Alabama divorce attorney is the first step any individual should take once they are sure they are ready to file for divorce or their ex-partner has already served them with divorce papers. The reality is, divorces can get messy, especially when children are involved and the last thing you want to have to do right now is handle the entire case alone. So, regardless of whether your spouse is serious and has plans of pushing for full custody, your attorney is going to be there to protect your parental rights and ensure the custody order that is created is in the best interest of your children.
How is child custody determined in Alabama?
Despite whether a parent intends to fight their ex-partner for full custody of their kids during the divorce proceedings, the court is the ultimate decision-maker. Therefore, the chances of your spouse demanding full custody and leaving the courtroom with an order that stipulates this is highly unlikely. The fact is, the court is going to take into account many different things when deciding on custody, not just what your spouse wants. You must also remain cognizant of the child custody laws that are currently in effect as these will play a role in how the custody order is created.
To give you an idea as to how the court typically awards custody in Alabama, below we have highlighted a few of the state’s child custody laws you should be aware of.
- Alabama Code §30-3-150– This law addresses joint custody and states that “it is the policy of [the state of Alabama] 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.” Essentially what this means is that the court is generally looking to award joint custody so that a child or children can maintain a strong and healthy relationship with both of their parents.
Important: Unless your child’s other parent can prove that you are either physically unfit to parent your kids, are addicted to drugs or alcohol, suffer from a debilitating mental illness, etc., the chances of you not receiving any amount of custody is improbable.
- Alabama Code §3-30-1– Before a court awards custody to either party in a divorce, the judge overseeing the case is going to take into account the following before making any decisions:
- The moral character and prudence of the parents.
- What the age and gender of each of the children are.
- The safety and wellbeing of the children.
- Whether either party abandoned one another.
Aside from this, it is important to also remember that there are several different types of custody arrangements that can be made when two parties are divorcing in Alabama. These include:
- Joint physical
- Sole legal custody
- Sole physical custody
Although the threats your ex-partner has been making might have you feeling worried and scared that you could potentially lose your kids, remember,you too have the right to hire a divorce lawyer who is capable of fighting for the same outcome your child’s other parent is seeking. As we mentioned above, hiring an Alabama divorce lawyer is the first thing you should do after it has been decided that you and your spouse are going to get a divorce, and the attorneys at Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C. are some of the most qualified in the field. Not only will a lawyer handle all the paperwork that is associated with filing for divorce, but they may even be able to convince your ex-partner to sit down with you and create a parenting plan.
When two parties enter into the divorce proceedings with a parenting plan that establishes custody, the court will typically review it to ensure it is suitable for the children and award it. This alleviates the court from having to make a decision regarding child custody. Now, if you are ready to speak with an Alabama divorce lawyer who can ease your mind and prepare you for your divorce case, contact Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C. to schedule an initial consultation.
Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C. can be reached at:
2603 Moody Parkway, Suite 200
Moody, Alabama 35004
Phone: (205) 640-2000
7900 Parkway Drive
Leeds, AL 35094
Phone: (205) 699-5500
6441 U.S. Highway 11
Springville, Alabama 35146
Phone: (205) 467-2225