Mobile, AL Child Custody Attorney
Child custody is often one of the more contentious and emotionally charged issues in Mobile, AL divorce cases. Numerous custody cases are filed in Alabama family courts every year, as parents often fight over who should get the primary custody of their child or how a parental plan should be devised that protects the child’s best interests.
Child custody and visitation agreements are fairly complicated, and it can be hard for the parents to arrive at a mutually acceptable plan. Mobile, AL child custody attorney Brent T. Day has several years of experience in handling child custody and visitation cases and can provide you with the compassionate, personalized legal representation you need at this difficult time.
Our dependable legal team at Brent Day Law can protect your rights as a parent, negotiate with the other parent’s attorney, and come up with a child custody and visitation agreement that is in your as well as your children’s best interests.
Child Custody in Mobile, AL
Child custody involves two main components – legal custody and physical custody.
- Legal custody refers to a parent’s authority to make decisions regarding their children’s education, healthcare, religion, and other important issues and decide how they should be raised.
- Physical custody refers to the physical location where the children will live on a regular basis.
Depending on the circumstances, the court might order sole legal custody, joint legal custody, sole physical custody, or joint physical custody.
- In the case of sole legal custody, one parent has the authority to make all the decisions in their children’s lives unilaterally – without having to consult with the other parent.
- In the case of joint legal custody, both parents have equal authority to make decisions regarding the children’s education, healthcare, religion, and other critical issues.
- In case of sole physical custody, the children will live with one parent and the other parent can visit them on a regular basis and spend time with them as per the court’s order.
- In the case of joint physical custody, the children will live with each parent for a specific period of time.
How is Child Custody Determined in Mobile, AL?
The foundational principle of determining child custody in Alabama is what lies in the child’s best interests. Some of the common factors that the court is likely to take into account while determining custody include:
- The age and sex of the children
- The children’s educational, material, emotional, moral, and social needs
- The age, character, and health condition of the parents
- The parents’ ability to provide for their children’s material needs
- The parents’ ability to provide a stable environment for the children to grow in
- The parents’ relationship with their children
- Recommendations made by the guardian ad litem, counselor, or custodial evaluator appointed by the court
- The children’s preferences (if they are mature enough to have an intelligent opinion)
In a vast majority of cases, the court prefers to grant joint custody, so that both parents can be equally and actively involved in their children’s lives. One parent may get primary or physical custody, while the other parent gets visitation rights and legal custody.
In exceptional cases, the court might grant sole custody to one parent if it believes that the decision might be in the best interest of the children. The most common reasons why the court might decide to order sole custody include:
- If one parent has a history of domestic abuse and violence against the other parent or other members of the family.
- If one parent has a history of abusive behavior towards the children.
- If one parent abandoned the children and failed to provide for their needs for a period of time.
- If one parent is addicted to alcohol or recreational drugs.
- If one parent is living with or has married someone who might pose a threat to the safety and wellbeing of the children.
Apart from this, if there is any other reason for the court to believe that living with a parent might negatively impact the children’s education, health and well-being, or emotional needs, it will grant custody to the other parent. Pertaining to this, it’s quite rare for a court to deny even legal custody to one parent.
It should be noted that the court does not judge a parent’s ability to raise their children based on their gender. The father and the mother have an equal chance of getting custody of the children – depending on how close they are to the children and whether they have the means and the willingness to provide for their children.
Children’s Preferences in Child Custody Cases in Mobile, AL
The court will take the children’s preferences into consideration if the children are mature enough to understand the gravity of the situation and voice their opinion. The law has not set any age limit to determine whether a child is mature enough to state their preferences in a custody case. It’s usually determined by the court on a case-by-case basis.
There are many circumstances under which the court might not consider a child’s preferences – even if the child is old and mature enough to have preferences of their own. These include:
- If the child refuses to live with a parent because the parent happens to be a disciplinarian and wants the child to have strong moral values
- If a parent tries to manipulate the child into choosing them over the other parent
- If the child’s preferences are not in their best interests
Trusted Child Custody Lawyers in Mobile, Alabama are Ready to Represent You
Attorney Brent T. Day has been helping the residents of Mobile, Alabama with child custody issues for nearly two decades. Attorney Day is highly rated by his peers as well as clients and has earned a reputation for resolving even the most complex child custody cases out of court.
Mr. Day can assess your situation, take your children’s preferences into account, and take all the necessary steps to achieve the best outcome possible. Call our law firm today at 251-441-1925 or use our online contact form to schedule a free and no-obligation consultation.