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How are child custody decisions made in Alabama?

Knowing how child custody is determined is critically important for divorcing parents to understand. The family law system provides a process for making child custody decisions in Alabama that parents concerned about child custody should be familiar with.

Child custody is determined in Alabama based on what is in the best interests of the child. What is in the best interests of the child is an important principle that guides child custody decisions. The primary focus of a child custody arrangement that is best for the child is ensuring the child’s safety and overall well-being. Parents are encouraged to reach a child custody arrangement but if they are unable to agree, and child custody is contested, the family law court can assist them in developing an agreement that is in the child’s best interest.

Factors that the family law court may consider when determining child custody include the child’s relationship with their siblings and other members of the family; the importance of maintaining consistency and continuity for the child; which parent is best able to care for the child’s daily physical, emotional, developmental and educational needs; which parent is best able to care for any special needs of the child; which parent is most likely to create and maintain and loving, stable and nurturing relationship with the child; and the child’s own wishes.

Most of these factors will focus on the child, like his or her relationship with siblings and the interest in maintaining consistency and continuity in his or her family life, community, and education. Additional factors might focus on the parents, such as which parent is more able to take care of the child’s daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs, and which is more likely to create and maintain a loving, stable, and nurturing relationship with the child.