If you are contemplating divorce or have been served divorce papers, the next steps to take may seem daunting. According to the 2018 U.S. Census, 12.9 million parents lived with 21.9 million children under 21 years of age, while the child’s other parent lived somewhere else. When children are involved, custody arrangements are typically a top priority during divorce proceedings.
If you are facing a child custody battle through a divorce, Guntersville Law, LLC can help. The experienced family law attorneys at Guntersville Law, LLC can provide courteous and compassionate legal services to individuals and families in need. They can provide reliable legal guidance and support for any family law situation, including child custody. Their firm is proud to serve clients in Guntersville, Alabama, and the surrounding areas, so call or reach out today to learn more about how they can help you with your case.
Establishing a Child Custody Arrangement
When it comes to establishing a child custody arrangement, there are two main options. If the arrangement is uncontested and you and your former spouse are able to come to a custody agreement on your own, you and the other parent can draw up your own terms and present them to the court for approval. Whenever possible, this is the quickest, least expensive, and most efficient route toward an amicable resolution as well as the least traumatic on both the parents and the children. It saves you the option of going to court and dealing with the drawn-out process of arguing in front of a judge, and an experienced family law attorney can help you keep the conversations productive and on track.
If the divorce is contested and you and the other parent cannot come to an agreement on custody, you will have to take your case to family court. In this case, the judge will use their best judgment to establish a custody arrangement. The judge will, of course, always prioritize the best interests of the child, but will also be willing to hear out each parent. This is why you will want an experienced child custody attorney to help you present your case so that you can have the best chance of arriving at the arrangement you believe is best for your family.
Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody
There are two types of custody to consider when making a custody arrangement: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is simply deciding where your children will live. Whether this means living with one parent during the week and another during the weekends, rotating holidays, or anything else — physical custody involves where your child physically resides.
Legal custody involves custody over the major decisions that need to be made about your child’s life. This includes things such as making important medical decisions and other things like where the child should go to school. Legal custody can also be considered joint or sole — meaning one parent can be in charge of everything (sole), or both parents can have equal say when it comes to making decisions for the child (joint). As a practical matter, joint legal custody does not typically mean an equal say in the decision making regarding your child.
If there is a case where the parents are excersizing true joint legal and physical custody, under Code of Alabama § 30-3-153. Implementation; required provisions; plan set by court., AL ST § 30-3-153,
"Designating the parent possessing primary authority and responsibility regarding involvement of the minor child in academic, religious, civic, cultural, athletic, and other activities, and in medical and dental care if the parents are unable to agree on these decisions. The exercise of this primary authority is not intended to negate the responsibility of the parties to notify and communicate with each other as provided in this article."
Please contact us with any questions you have when going through a divorce or a custody modification.