What is Child Custody and Visitation?
Determining child custody and visitation can be a confusing and emotionally charged process. Parents naturally want to be involved in their children’s lives and see them as much as possible, but when parents are divorced or unmarried, it can be difficult to come to a custody arrangement that is satisfactory to both parties.
According to Alabama law, couples who voluntarily separate can notify the court and within 20 days, the court can determine which parent should have custody and control of the children and can make decisions about care and their education.
State of Alabama Child Visitation Guidelines
In some states, the mother will be automatically granted custody of a child if the parents are unmarried. In these cases, the father will have to go to court to fight for custody or visitation rights. The state of Alabama, however, typically holds the opinion that joint custody is in the best interests of the child and will usually grant both parents custody.
Joint custody does not guarantee that both parents will spend equal amounts of time with the child, however. Usually, one parent will be deemed the primary custodian, and the other will be given visitation rights. Parents will then have to come to an agreement about a schedule for sharing time with the child.
Common Custody Schedules
If you and the other parent can agree on a custody schedule, then you can establish any schedule you want, with court approval. However, if you are unable to come to an agreement, your schedule will be determined for you by the judge.
While Alabama does not have a standard custody schedule, most custody schedules are similar. Usually, the custodial parent will get the child during the week, with the exception of one evening, and both parents will alternate weekends. Holidays and summer break will usually alternate between parents from year to year.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Custody and Visitation
If you find yourself in a child custody or visitation dispute, it’s critical that you hire an experienced family lawyer. The judge who determines your custody arrangement will decide everything based on their perception of what is in the best interests of your child. A lawyer will know exactly how to present your case in such a way that shows that you can provide a great home for your child. They understand the nuances of divorce law in Alabama and can ensure that every step is taken to keep you and your child together.
At New Beginnings Family Law, we are dedicated to providing compassionate legal guidance for parents with child custody questions or disputes. If you need help with a child custody issue in Huntsville, contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We can be reached by phone, by email through our website’s contact form, or by live chat. Don’t wait. Contact us now.