Alabama Child Custody Guidelines and Links

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Factors Considered When Determining the Best Interest of the Child for Child Custody in Alabama:

  1. The sex and age of the children are indeed very important considerations; however, the court must go beyond these to consider the characteristics and needs of each child, including
  2. their emotional, social, moral, material and educational needs;
  3. the respective home environments offered by the parties;
  4. the characteristics of those seeking custody, including age, character, stability, mental and physical health;
  5. the capacity and interest of each parent to provide for the emotional, social, moral, material and educational needs of the children;
  6. the interpersonal relationship between each child and each parent;
  7. the interpersonal relationship between the children;
  8. the effect on the child of disrupting or continuing an existing custodial status;
  9. the preference of each child, if the child is of sufficient age and maturity;
  10. the report and recommendation of any expert witnesses or other independent investigator;
  11. available alternatives;
  12. and any other relevant matter the evidence may disclose.

Relevant Sections of the Alabama State Code Regarding Child Custody:

Upon granting a divorce, the court may give the custody and education of the children of the marriage to either father or mother, as may seem right and proper, having regard to the moral character and prudence of the parents and the age and sex of the children; and pending the action, may make such orders in respect to the custody of the children as their safety and well-being may require. But in cases of abandonment of the husband by the wife, he shall have the custody of the children after they are seven years of age, if he is a suitable person to have such charge.
-From Section 30-3-1 of the Code of Alabama

It is the policy of the state of Alabama to assure that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of their children and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of rearing their children after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.

The court shall in every case consider joint custody but may award any form of custody which is determined to be in the best interest of the child. In determining whether joint custody is in the best interest of the child, the court shall consider the same factors considered in awarding sole legal and physical custody and all of the following factors:

(1) The agreement or lack of agreement of the parents on joint custody.
(2) The past and present ability of the parents to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly.
(3) The ability of the parents to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent.
(4) Any history of or potential for child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping.
(5) The geographic proximity of the parents to each other as this relates to the practical considerations of joint physical custody.

The court may order a form of joint custody without the consent of both parents, when it is in the best interest of the child. If both parents request joint custody, the presumption is that joint custody is in the best interest of the child. Joint custody shall be granted in the final order of the court unless the court makes specific findings as to why joint custody is not granted.
-From Sections 30-3-150 and 30-3-152 of the Code of Alabama

Links to Information on Child Custody in Alabama:

Gonzalez v. Gonzalez
Code of Alabama 30-3-151, Custody Definitions

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