Couples have plenty to consider during divorce. From property division to spousal support, it often seems as if there are more and more matters to deal with around every corner. Parents face even more hurdles to finalizing their divorces — child custody. Here is how child custody is treated under Alabama’s family law.
Parents do not always have to battle over child custody in court. There are many parents who are able to work out custody agreements between themselves. Although this type of agreement still has to be approved, most courts will end up honoring the agreement. Parents who were not able to come to an agreement or could not agree to work together can still go to court, where a judge will decide what is in the child’s best interests.
All child custody agreements — including those created by parents — must center around the best interests of a child. But how can a parent or judge decide what those best interests are? Factors like age, educational or special needs, sibling relationships, connection to the community, and others are usually looked at when making this decision. A judge also has plenty of leeway to consider other factors that he or she thinks may be relevant.
A child custody agreement should address which parent has primary custody, whether parents share joint physical custody, legal custody, and even grandparent visitations. Deciding which approach is best for a child is not always easy. However, parents who are assertive and ready to protect their children’s best interests generally find that they can achieve agreeable arrangements.