At Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC, we understand that you may be dealing with child custody issues in Birmingham for the first time. Or, you may be revisiting a child custody battle. Whether this is your first foray into determining a child custody arrangement, or you have questions about a child custody modification or relocation, do not hesitate to contact an Alabama child custody lawyer. Our divorce and family law attorneys are here to explain your rights and guide you through seeking the best arrangement for your family.
Child-Custody determinations are often the most contentious matters in any Alabama Divorce or Family Law matter. We encourage you to review our site and the numerous resources we have placed at your disposal to gather as much information as possible. But it is imperative that you contact the experienced and award-winning attorneys at Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC to best protect your rights and those of your children in any matter regarding custody. Time is almost assuredly of the essence in child-custody matters.
Alabama’s child custody laws focus on what is best for a child whether that child’s parents are divorcing or were never married. Your rights and responsibilities to your child are not dependent on you being married to the child’s other parent. However, there are differences in a child custody situation for divorcing versus unmarried parents.
When a child is born during a marriage, the law presumes the two parents are the child’s biological and legal parents. When you are married to your child’s other parent, there is rarely an issue of paternity, unless that issue is raised by you or the other parent. If you and your child’s other parent were unmarried at the time, then Alabama law requires you to establish paternity.
Whether you are married, divorcing, or unmarried, feel free to call a child custody attorney at Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC for legal advice. We can advise you on how to establish paternity for your child, no matter your marital situation.
The simplest way to establish paternity in Alabama is for you and the child’s other parent to voluntarily sign a form of acknowledgment of paternity. Once you both sign this form and it is properly filed, then the father’s name can be placed on the birth certificate.
You and your child’s other parent can voluntarily and privately go through genetic testing first. If you and the other parent privately establish a DNA connection, you can then sign an acknowledgment form and the father’s name can be added to the birth certificate.
Or, you may go through an administrative procedure with the Alabama Department of Human Resources to have a genetic test performed. If you go through the administrative process to conduct a DNA test, you or the other parent must file a Petition to Establish Paternity with the court and obtain an Alabama court order to establish paternity. Only then can the father’s name be added to the birth certificate.
If paternity is contested, then the action may need to go through court. Either parent can file an action in court to require a DNA test. A mother can file an action to have a putative father submit to a DNA test or a putative father can file for a DNA test to prove or disprove paternity.
If you need to establish your child’s paternity or you need to prove you are not a child’s father, call our custody lawyers in Birmingham, Alabama right away.
There are a few types of child custody that may work for your family. Alabama focuses on temporary custody, physical custody, and legal custody. Custody that works for you now may not be beneficial to you or your children at some time in the future. It is possible to modify your child custody arrangement from any of these forms to another.
In many situations, a temporary custody order is needed while parents or the court decide on the best long-term arrangement for a child. A temporary child custody order may be put in place during a divorce or immediately following a child’s birth to unmarried parents. This order may be in place for weeks or months until the court decides, or you and your child’s other parent come to a voluntary agreement regarding permanent child custody.
If a child custody order is not intended to be temporary, then it is essentially permanent. An Alabama court’s child custody order remains in place until a court alters the order in the future, which is likely to occur at some point. Your child’s needs will change, your and the other parent’s circumstances may change, all of which could require you and the other parent to pursue a new arrangement. To discuss obtaining a temporary or permanent child custody order in Alabama, call a custody attorney from Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC.
Legal custody encompasses a parent’s right to make important decisions for their child, including in regard to a child’s education, medical care, and religion. If one parent has sole legal custody, then that parent is entitled to make all the child’s major decisions. Many divorced or unmarried couples share legal custody and must make these big decisions together. If you and your child’s other parent do not agree on issues managed by legal custody, you may have to seek court intervention. A child custody lawyer can help you with this endeavor.
Physical custody relates to which parent has the right to have the child with them, at their home, and control the child’s daily activities. Like legal custody, physical custody can remain entirely or predominantly with one parent or it can be shared between two parents. This is one of the most contentious issues in child custody. It’s best to work with a child custody lawyer to establish a physical custody agreement or to seek a court order.
Under Alabama Code Section 30-3-152, the court must always consider joint custody. Alabama law strongly encourages parents to share legal and physical custody of the child, since it is often in the child’s best interests to have access to both parents. However, a judge will closely examine what is in the child’s best interests, which may not include joint physical custody, joint legal custody, or either. If you and the child’s other parent have a history of not being able to communicate or cooperate, then one of you may be provided sole legal or physical custody – or both.
Sole custody can refer to physical custody, legal custody, or both. When a parent has sole physical custody of a child, then the child lives with that parent full time. That parent may also be called the custodial parent. The other parent may have visitation, during which the child sees them for brief periods of time, and they may or may not spend nights at their home. A parent may also have joint physical custody yet have sole legal custody. The child may divide their time between parents, yet one parent remains in charge of the major decisions.
Visitation refers to the non-custodial parent’s time with the child. When one parent has sole physical custody and the child lives with them, the child’s time with the other parent is known as visitation. If you have questions regarding custody and visitation, call a custody attorney in Birmingham, AL for answers.
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