Determining child custody following a divorce can be a complex process. The state of Alabama takes many factors into consideration before making the decision, and its primary concern is always what is best for the child. If you are facing a child custody case, it is important that you are familiar with the factors that go into awarding custody.
1. A History of Domestic Violence
If there is any history of domestic violence, Alabama courts will not award custody to the parent who instigated substantiated violence except in extenuating circumstances. This, however, does not include false allegations of abuse that were recognized as false.
2. Each Parent’s Willingness to Accept Custody
If one parent does not want custody of the children, the court will take that into consideration and likely award custody to the other parent, except in cases of abuse or other special circumstances.
3. The Preference of the Child
If the child is over the age of 12, he or she may be able to decide where to live. Although the court will certainly take into account all of the other factors, if a child is old enough, the court will also give significant weight to the child’s wishes.
4. Each Parent’s Ability to Provide Financially for the Child
Before making a custody determination, Blount County courts will factor in each parent’s financial situation and their ability to provide for children who are placed in their custody. For example, the court may choose to award custody to the higher wage earner if both parents work.
5. Which Living Arrangement Will Least Disrupt the Child’s Education and Social Life
The court’s priority is to protect the best interests of the child, and in some cases, a guardian ad litem will be appointed for this reason. The court will closely evaluate each possible living situation for the children, and will likely choose the living situation that has the least potential of disruption to the child’s educational and social life.
6. Which Parent Can Best Provide For the Children
In many cases, the court chooses to place the children in the custody of the current primary caregiver after a divorce. For example, a mother who is a homemaker and has been raising the children for the last several years is more likely to obtain custody of the children than the father. In this situation, the father may be ordered to pay child support and alimony to help the mother care for the children financially.
If you are facing a custody dispute, it is critical that you contact a skilled Alabama child custody attorney right away. Attorney Ted Williams Jr. has the expertise and resources to protect the best interests of your children and petition the court for a custody arrangement that is beneficial to your family.
Call today for a consultation at (205) 623-4443 to speak with Attorney Williams today about your custody case, and to learn more about the legal options you have available to you.