Alabama Child Custody Attorney
When a divorcing couple has children, the issues surrounding whom the children will live with and when (custody and visitation) are often the most important matters in the divorce. They can also be the most contentious and emotional aspects of the divorce. At her offices in Mobile and Daphne, Alabama family law attorney Ginger Poynter works to establish practical, lasting plans that meet parent and child needs and encourage meaningful relationships, while always looking out for her client’s needs and best interests.
Alabama Child Custody Basics
In deciding child custody matters, the judge will determine two different aspects of custody – legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make legal decisions regarding the child’s upbringing in matters such as religion, medical care and education, including participation in sports or other extracurricular activities. Physical custody refers to which parent the child will actually live with. Regarding both legal and physical custody, the judge can award custody jointly to both parents or solely to one parent alone. Also, the two types of custody do not have to be awarded the same status. In other words, the judge could order joint legal custody and sole physical custody, or grant legal decisionmaking authority to one parent while requiring both parents to share physical custody.
In Alabama, the policy of the state is to favor joint custody, unless it can be shown that joint custody would not be in the child’s best interests. In deciding custody matters, the courts have broad discretion to consider any factors which may impact the child’s best interests. Common factors typically considered by the court include:
- Any history of domestic violence by either parent, including both spousal abuse and child abuse
- The physical distance between the parents’ residences
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The impact a change in residence would have on the child’s other family and social relationships
- A parent’s ability to encourage a meaningful relationship between the child and the other parent
- The parents’ ability to cooperate and communicate with each other and make decisions together regarding the child’s upbringing
How Your Attorney can Help
With so much at stake, you want to be sure that your voice is heard in the custody determination, and that the facts brought forward to the judge accurately reflect the past, present and future of the family’s parent-child relationships. At the Law Office of Ginger Poynter, we work with our client and opposing parties to develop a fair child custody arrangement and visitation schedule that meets the needs of both parents and the children. In the event an agreement cannot be worked out, we serve as staunch advocates for our clients in the courtroom.
For a consultation regarding your Alabama divorce or child custody dispute, contact the Law Office of Ginger Poynter in Mobile and Daphne, at 251-445-8313.