General Child Custody Observations While Going Through A Divorce in Alabama
According to Alabama Statute, Courts are directed in child custody proceedings to give the custody and education of the children of the marriage to either father or mother, as is right and proper, having regard to the moral character and prudence of the parents and the age and sex of the children. However, courts have wide discretion to award custody and care of minor children. In Alabama, a custody award that separates siblings in never favored absent some showing as to why the separation is reasonable and in the best interest of the children.
It is important to note, that when a custody proceeding during a divorce in instituted, by filing a divorce complaint and asking for custody, the child or children becomes essentially a ward of the State and any matter affecting the child is under the purview and jurisdiction of the State. This is exactly the reason our lawyers at Alabama Divorce and Family Law, LLC counsels our clients to handle their divorce and custody matters outside of court if possible.
Factors to be Considered in Alabama Divorce and Custody Proceedings
In awarding custody of a child, the Court may look at many factors:
• Sex and age of the children
• The emotional, social, moral, material, and educational needs of the child
• The home environments offered by each parent
• The age, character, stability, mental and physical health of each parent
• The capacity of each parent to care for the child’s needs
• The relationship between each child and the parents seeking custody
• The relationships between each child
• The effects on the child of changing or disrupting an existing custodial arrangement
• Preference of the child if the child is sufficiently mature
• Reports and recommendations of experts
• Any relevant matter
Obviously applying the factors above is subjective. Past performance in parenting is the best indicator of future performance. However, the parent who was most involved in the past may no longer have the time to be the most involved in the future after a divorce. Financial and time resources may change after a divorce, and often do so. A mother may be forced to return to work by economic necessity.
Time spent with a child in play, disciplining the child, involvement in school and school activities, home-work, sports, church, church activities, doctor visits, transportation, and objective measures of past performance. Less objective, but just as important to a custodial determination, is evidence reflecting the parent’s relationship to the child.
A court will look to the best interest and welfare of the child and the cumulative analysis of all relevant issues impacting a child.
Notably, mothers used to get primary custody of children more frequently than fathers. This tends to be true still today. However, many fathers do get primary custody of their children today. A father who has actively participated in the raising of his children has an excellent change of obtaining custody in today’s divorce proceedings in Alabama.
Circumstances That Lead to Custody Awards During Divorce
There are many specific circumstances that may lead to custody orders in one’s favor:
1. Affectional Circumstances
2. Wishes of Children
6. Psychiatric Considerations
7. Financial Circumstances
8. Conducts of Third Parties
9. Religious Considerations
Divorce and Custody is a complex matter and you should contact an experienced Alabama Divorce and Custody Attorney to advise you regarding any divorce and custody proceeding.