Can The Father Get Custody In Alabama?
If you are a father pursuing custody in Alabama, you may have heard that you don’t have a shot. However, it’s important not to be discouraged. While Alabama courts have historically favored the mother in child custody decisions, that is no longer the case. Alabama courts used to presume that remaining with the mother was in the child’s best interest, however, it is now presumed that joint custody is in the best interest of the child. This does not mean that the presumption will not be challenged though. Courts must still assess and weigh a number of factors in determining what is actually in the child’s best interest. These factors will be weighed against the presumption of joint custody, and, in appropriate cases, can overcome it.
Assessing the Best Interest of the Child
In determining the best interest of the child, the courts may consider a long list of factors, including the mental and emotional health of the parents and their ability to provide the child with a safe, stable, sanitary, and nurturing home, and their proximity to one another. The age and gender of the child and any special needs they may have will also be considered. If the child is old enough, their preference or opinion may be considered. Of course, the child’s safety and well being is considered, along with the ability of the parents to honor a parenting agreement. Parental history of domestic violence, abuse, neglect, kidnapping, or crime, may all be weighed in making this determination. The existing custody arrangement and how much disruption the child would experience if it were changed will also be considered. The court may rely on testimony, reports, or recommendations from expert witnesses and investigators.
Rebutting the Presumption in Favor of Joint Custody
While Alabama courts will generally presume joint custody is in the best interest of the child. However, that presumption can be overcome. In certain circumstances, the court will shift the presumption against custody. For instance, if either parent has a history of domestic violence or abuse against a child or the other parent, this will generally shift the presumption strongly against giving them custody. However, in any case the factors above may overcome the presumption in favor of joint custody. For instance, if you are able to demonstrate that the child’s mother has a history of violence or is unable to provide your child with a safe and nurturing environment, you may be able to overcome the presumption of joint custody and win sole custody.
How a Lawyer Can Help
An experienced family law lawyer can help you make the strongest possible case for custody. A lawyer understands the factors that judges weigh and how to present your case in a way that clearly demonstrates that granting you sole custody is in the best interest of the child.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are pursuing custody of your child or children, it is important to consult with a Birmingham child custody lawyer as soon as possible to develop a strategy and ensure that you are presenting the strongest possible case. Call Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help.