Deciding child custody and visitation can be challenging and confusing for both married and unmarried parents in Alabama. When parents are unmarried, it can be especially difficult to come to a child custody agreement that satisfies both parties.
Alabama courts generally allow both co-parents to share the rights and responsibilities of raising their children. It is a common practice of the courts to ensure that young children, especially, have regular and meaningful contact with both co-parents, assuming they are both fit to handle their responsibilities as parents.
Alabama child custody laws give co-parents the opportunity to create and submit their own parenting plans to be reviewed and considered by the court. Alabama considers the gender and age of the child as factors to consider when awarding custody.
Issues reviewed may include:
- The home environment that each parent can provide for the child and how they can provide for the child financially and emotionally.
- The ability of the co-parents to agree on the terms of their joint custody arrangement. This also shows the ability of the co-parents to work together amicably.
- The willingness of a parent to build a strong, long-term relationship with their child and the other parent.
- Where both co-parents live geographically and how that may affect the custody agreement and the child mentally.
If you are facing child custody and visitation challenges as an unmarried parent in Alabama, the highly skilled and compassionate Huntsville child custody lawyers at New Beginnings Family Law are here to help.
We will listen to you and want to understand your goals for a child custody and visitation agreement. We will help gather evidence about your family life, as well as your co-parent’s capabilities, to help you make a case that demonstrates what is in the best interest of the child.
Call the Huntsville family lawyers at New Beginnings Family Law today for a consultation.
Common Child Custody Mistakes for Unmarried Parents
Below are several of the most common child custody mistakes made by unmarried parents in Huntsville and throughout Alabama:
- Acting without legal advice.
Before you do anything related to your child custody case, you schedule an evaluation of your case with an experienced Huntsville child custody lawyer at New Beginnings Family Law.
- Assuming that the father of the child cannot get custody.
Many believe that a father cannot get custody in Alabama. Historically, Alabama laws did, in fact, favor the mother over the father, regardless of the facts and circumstances of the case. This is no longer true. However, child custody in Alabama is now decided based on the best interests of the children.
- Failing to prepare for your child custody case.
Failing to prepare for your child custody case can be detrimental to the outcome. It is best to begin by educating yourself. Don’t just assume that you will win (or lose) the child custody battle. Follow the advice of your lawyer as winning custody is a team effort. Your attorney cannot win your custody case without your help. Do your best to provide your attorney with any information requested, such as photographs, documents, medical records, and the contact information of witnesses.
- Failing to consider the interests of the child when making decisions.
Child custody in Alabama is decided based on the best interests of the children. When you make a decision that affects your child, ask yourself if the decision is in their best interests. Apply this to every single decision you make that affects your children
Rights of Unmarried Parents in Alabama
If you are an unmarried parent who lives in Huntsville or elsewhere in Alabama, it’s important to understand your legal rights. Alabama state custody laws that depend on the marital status of the parents. Unmarried parents typically have fewer rights than their married parents, and may, thus, need the help of a skilled attorney to defend their rights.
An unmarried mother has the natural or primary right to custody of children born outside marriage. This means that the mother has the legal right to keep her children and take care of them. The only way these rights can be revoked is if she is proven unfit for motherhood, or if she abandons the child.
In general, courts in Alabama look at married and unmarried father’s rights differently. The father of a child born out of wedlock must take the following legal actions to establish his rights: prove that he’s the biological father and file a request with the court to grant him custody and visitation rights.
Many other issues may arise for an unmarried father. Paternity can be questioned if the father is not listed on the child’s birth certificate. If you are the father of a child whose mother you were never married to, it is strongly advised that you retain the services of an Alabama family lawyer to help you reach an agreement with her so you can be a part of your child’s life.
Call Our Huntsville Child Custody Lawyers for Help
If you are an unmarried parent involved in child custody or visitation dispute, it’s critical that you hire a skilled and experienced Huntsville family lawyer as soon as possible.
The judge who determines your custody arrangement will decide everything based on their perception of what is in the best interests of your child. The attorneys at New Beginnings Family Law will know how to present your case in a way that demonstrates that you can provide a loving home for your child. We understand the many nuances and complexities of child custody law in Alabama and can make sure that every step possible is taken to keep you and your child together.
At New Beginnings Family Law, we are committed to providing knowledgeable and compassionate legal guidance for unmarried parents with child custody disputes. If you need help with a child custody or visitation issue in Huntsville, contact us now to schedule a consultation so we can discuss your case.