One major fear for parents as they file for divorce is the small possibility of losing their children. If you fear that the court will take your children from you and your spouse will be awarded full custody, then it is time to obtain a hard-hitting family law advocate to protect your rights in court. Here at Stephen F. Thompson, Jr., Attorney at Law, we are dedicated to helping families who are facing
divorce and other family law issues. We understand how important family is to you and we want to help you through this difficult time. If you are asking yourself, "Will I lose my children?" then it is evident that you have a lot at stake in the divorce. Our
Birmingham divorce attorney can defend your legal custody and
visitation rights as a parent and we can inform you how the courts determine custody in the state of Alabama.
Overall, there are several different types of custody arrangements that can be worked out and the court is most likely to choose the one that best serves the child's best interests. Under the law, each parent is legally obligated to care for the child until they reach the age of emancipation, which is 18. There are also rare cases where support payments will be extended if the child has special needs or is unable to care for themselves. When the court is asked to make a ruling judgment regarding child custody, they prefer to award joint custody so that the child can continue a close and meaningful relationship with both parents. Joint custody however, will not be awarded if a party seems to be "unfit" to be a parent or if it is not in the child's best interests.
The custody agreement that is decided upon will disclose who has legal and/or physical custody of the child. Physical custody deals with who the child will live with and legal custody involves the authority of making important legal decisions regarding how the child will be raised. The Alabama court decides legal and physical custody by taking the following factors in consideration:
- How much time each parent spent with the child prior to divorce
- Whether each parent can further the child's education
- Whether one parent has intentions to relocate
- The child's relationship with each parent
- The child's relationship with their other siblings
- What the child's preference is (They will consider it if they are age 12 or older)
- Whether or not each parent will encourage visits and contact with the other parent
- Whether or not there is a history of domestic violence, abuse or neglect
- Whether or not there is a history of drug or alcohol abuse
- Whether or not the parents have a criminal history
According to the law, the courts are not to show preferential treatment to either parent and they must make an informed, unbiased decision in regards to custody of the children. If you believe the other parent is looking to gain full custody however, or they are planning to relocate then you must take swift legal action in order to prevent that from happening- this is especially true if you have a legal conviction on your record that was obtained in the last five years.
Our firm understands how scary it can be to have your life in the hands of the family court system. Having a judge decide the fate of your children is terrifying experience and we are here to help you through it. Contact a Birmingham child custody attorney from our firm today to help you fight for your children.