While everyone will have their own unique priorities during divorce, most parents share a primary concern during this process — their children. Prioritizing a child during divorce means giving careful time and attention to determining child custody, which should reflect his or her best interests. Alabama parents have several options for making custody work best for their families.
Physical custody — meaning with whom the child lives — can be either shared or sole. In a shared physical custody situation, a child would typically spend roughly equal periods of time living with both parents. Often, one parent is designated as having primary physical custody, with the other parent usually having visitation. In some circumstances the so-called noncustodial parent could have limited to no access to the child – usually when documented evidence of some form of abuse exists, including domestic violence and drug abuse.
Legal custody can also be either joint or sole. Since legal custody pertains to the right to make major decisions on a child’s behalf, both parents can share in these decisions when they have joint legal custody. If only one parent has legal custody, then or he or she is primarily responsible for important decisions regarding:
- General upbringing
Depending on a family’s situation, it might be appropriate for one parent to have primary physical custody while sharing joint legal custody with an ex. Or perhaps parents might share both physical and legal custody. The ultimate goal should be to find the best possible child custody arrangement that truly respects and values the child’s best interests. Alabama parents who are struggling with this task might want to consider seeking guidance from a knowledgeable attorney.