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What Are the Key Factors Judges Consider in Child Custody Cases?

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How does the Alabama Court assess Child Custody?

When you are going through a divorce in Alabama, many sensitive and emotional issues and terms must be discussed and decided upon. This is especially true if you have a child and child custody and support are added to the mix.

So, if you have a child (or children), issues such as custody, visitation rights, child support, and more should be decided upon before you even appear before an Alabama judge; if you can’t agree, then the judge will choose for you.

One thing you must be painfully aware of is that, in the end, the Circuit Court judge has complete discretion, if needed, to determine child custody and many of these sensitive issues involving your child if you and your spouse cannot agree. The primary tenant of the court is always to do what is in the child’s best interest.

If no plan is agreed upon or it does not meet the court’s approval, the judge will make all the decisions, which is not something most parents want to happen.

However, before any Alabama judge makes custodial, support, visitation, or any decision, they will consider many things. Some examples of factors the judge will consider are the child’s age, overall health, who they are used to spending the most time with, and much more.

The relationship between the child and each parent will often be considered, and if the child is old enough, the child will frequently express preference for which parent they want to reside with. Additionally, the parents commonly speak with the children to see how they feel towards either parent.

So, the vital thing to note is that before you appear before a judge, discuss custody with a qualified, thorough, and professional child custody lawyer. Your lawyer will know how to correctly approach the custody issues and present them to your spouse and the Alabama court.

What May the Alabama Court Consider When Deciding What’s In Your Child’s Best Interests?

An agreed-upon custody arrangement can make the divorce transition significantly more manageable for you and your child.

In most divorces, the Alabama court feels that joint custody is always the best path to take, but this is not always possible. Joint custody permits you and your spouse to maintain a solid and strong parental relationship, so the courts usually support joint custody arrangements.

However, in many other situations, your child will live better with one parent (sole custody) while your ex-spouse has agreed upon visitation rights.

If you and your spouse can’t agree on custody arrangements and must go to court, the Alabama judge will decide for you using the guidelines given to them.

By following the guideline of what’s in the “best interests of your child,” the judge will consider factors such as;

  • The precise and detailed relationship between your child and parents before divorce.
  • How involved each parent was in the child’s life before the divorce.
  • Your child’s specific needs, such as their age, health, mental status, etc.
  • Suppose your home had any issues involving domestic violence or drugs or alcohol abuse.
  • Did you and your spouse (or partner) work together well in raising your child?
  • Is there any way you and your spouse agree on joint custody and possibly many other issues?

Your skilled and empathetic child custody lawyer usually advises you to negotiate your child custody arrangement before going to court. Additionally, being well-versed in child custody cases, your lawyer will use their negotiating skills to help you work out an acceptable arrangement that both you, your spouse, and the court will find.

If the Judge Must Make the Custody Decisions, What Other Factors May Be Considered?

If an Alabama judge is asked to make custody decisions, they will first thoroughly analyze the entire familial situation, using the firm Alabama standard of what’s in your child’s best interests. They will usually not be concerned with your or your spouse’s wishes.

After the court knows all the complete and relevant data involved, it may consider such things as;

  • If at all feasible, what you and your partner may want.
  • Consider what your child wants and who they want to live with. This decision also involves the child’s age and sibling relationships.
  • How well has your child adjusted to their current home, school, friends, and community?
  • Both your and your spouse’s character and any adverse circumstances involved.
  • If domestic violence was a factor in the home, which parents committed these acts, and much more.

Your professional child custody lawyer will tell you that you never want your custody hearing to involve having the judge make custody decisions. You should also note that your lawyer’s skills in helping you work out a custody plan before going to court will prove invaluable. Even in the most contentious divorces, with the help of your lawyer, there’s always a better solution.

Are Most Child Custody Agreements Settled Out Of The Alabama Courts?

The simple answer is yes; most custody (and other vital divorce issues) usually do not require litigation. At first, custody may be a hotly contested issue, but with the help and guidance of your lawyer, most parents eventually agree through negotiations or even mediation.

You must remember that your professional child custody lawyer has been through this process many times before and is readily aware of what the court will accept or reject. Ultimately, your lawyer’s skills will significantly help the most contentious divorcer decide these issues and keep them out of the court’s control.

Your lawyer will help you formulate a plan that considers your wishes and what the court will consider to be in your child’s best interests. Your lawyer will correctly and professionally present your plan to your spouse and negotiate if necessary. Concessions may be required, but a settlement before the court is always the best legal path.

My Divorce Could Have Custody issues; What Should I Do?

In most divorces, child custody is almost always contentious, and there are often other critical decisions to make that cause a great deal of stress, emotional responses, and conflict. This is the main reason the Alabama court reserves the right to step in using the “best interests of the child” standard; when this is necessary, however, the outcome is often not what either parent wanted.

Custody is always an emotional and “hot” issue, so you need the help of a well-known, highly skilled child custody lawyer with considerable expertise in these types of proceedings.

Jim Golden Law has a successful history of passionately helping Alabama parents find the best child custody solution for them and their children, avoiding the most conflict possible and the intervention of the Alabama courts.

Call Jim today at 866-950-6652 for a free 30-minute consultation and have the peace of mind of knowing you are in the best legal hands possible.

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