Alabama’s child custody laws guarantee parents a constitutional right to have a relationship with their child. Minor children likewise have a right to free association with their parents, which include fathers.
The Alabama Uniform Parentage Act establishes that the state is committed to fostering a parent-child relationship, and state courts are obligated to make decisions that are in the best interest of a child. Some recently divorced fathers can struggle to set up simple times to spend with their children.
If you are a recently divorced father in Alabama who needs assistance exercising your custody rights, you should get help from a family law attorney. A knowledgeable child custody lawyer will be able to help you exercise your rights to custody, visitation, or even child support.
New Beginnings Family Law understands the stress and confusion that divorce can put on fathers. We work to help men understand and take advantage of their rights. You can have our lawyers examine your case when you call us or contact us online.
What Are My Rights as a Divorced Father in Alabama?
Men who reside in Alabama often mistakenly believe that if their name appears on the birth certificate, they are automatically granted the legal rights of a father. The state, however, recognizes the husband of any married couple as the father of the child.
In many child custody cases involving unmarried fathers, it will be important to establish paternity. Alabama Code § 26-17-204(a) establishes that a man is presumed to be the father of a child if:
- The child is born during the man’s marriage to the mother of the child.
- The child is born within 300 days after the man’s marriage to the mother of the child is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce.
- The man and the child’s mother married or attempted to marry, and the man has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the appropriate court or the Alabama Office of Vital Statistics.
- The man is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate, or the man is otherwise obligated to support the child either under a written voluntary promise or by court order.
- While the child is a minor, the man brings the child into his home and establishes a significant parental relationship with the child by providing them emotional and financial support.
- The man legitimated the child in accordance with Chapter 11 of Title 26 of the Alabama Code.
Child Custody Rights for Fathers
A father’s right to custody is recognized by courts in Alabama. The court will usually view time spent with both parents as being in the best interest of a child. The visitation schedule that a court imposes will be designed to provide a father with adequate time to form a meaningful familial bond with a child.
The mother is named the custodial parent in many divorces, but this is not necessarily the outcome in all cases. Some fathers may be prepared to take on the custodial parent roles and could be granted full or primary custody.
Fathers’ Right to Child Support
When a father is named a custodial parent, he is just as entitled to child support as the mother would be when she were named a custodial parent. Alabama recognizes that custodial parents require child support to provide a healthy life for the child, so courts will not hesitate to enforce child support orders.
When a father is a non-custodial parent, then he will typically pay child support to the mother.
How Can a Huntsville Divorce Attorney for Men at New Beginnings Family Law Help Me?
Are you a father in Alabama going through a divorce? Do you have questions about your rights to spend time with your children? Contact the Alabama family lawyers of New Beginnings Family Law to discuss your rights.
We are here to answer all of your questions about contested divorce, uncontested divorce, divorce appeals, alimony, divorce modifications, and property division, and together we’ll develop a plan of action to help you make sure that you get to see your children and that your rights as a father are protected. Call us or contact us online to schedule a consultation.