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Questions about custody decisions in Alabama

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2022 | Child Custody

One of the most challenging parts of divorce is determining who will get custody of the children.

When parents are unable to agree to a custody arrangement on their own, the court makes that decision for them based on the children’s best interests.

What does joint custody mean in Alabama?

Joint custody is a custody arrangement where both parents have the right to take part in important decisions regarding their children, such as decisions about health care, education and religion. Parents also share physical custody of their children in this parenting arrangement, although parenting time may not be equal.

What is primary physical custody?

Even in joint custody arrangements, one parent may have primary physical custody of the children because the courts often do not see children splitting their time evenly between two homes as a stable environment. Primary physical custody is not the same thing as sole custody. A parent with primary physical custody must still share decision-making with the other parent in a joint legal custody arrangement.

What factors determine who gets primary custody?

The safety and well-being of the children, the physical and mental health of each parent, the relationship of the children to each parent, the living arrangements and each parent’s individual ability to provide for all of the children’s needs are some of the important factors considered.

Children never get to choose which parent to live with. However, courts will consider the testimony of any child mature enough to voice their preference. There is no minimum age requirement for a child to testify about custody in Alabama. It is solely up to the judge in each case to determine if a child is mature enough to weigh in.

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