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Birmingham AL Collaborative Divorce Law Blog

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Child Custody Fact or Fiction? Test Your Knowledge of Alabama’s Child Custody Law

“I thought if we divorced, my son’s life would be ruined.” Statements like this often keep parents in relationships long after they have become unhealthy and unloving. Recent research indicates, however, that staying together for the sake of the kids despite unhealthy behavior on the part of one or both parents is more harmful than deciding to part ways. In these cases, divorce can provide a healthier environment for children and parents alike.

Understanding the law may help those who are hesitant to divorce to come to terms with how their children will fare during and after divorce. Test your knowledge of Alabama’s child custody law with this quiz.

 

True or False? Alabama child custody law requires that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of their children.

Answer: True. According to Alabama child custody law, section 30-2-150, a child under the age of 19 is required to have continued contact with both parents, providing they demonstrate the best interest of the child. The state encourages parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of rearing their children after separation or divorce.

 

True or False? Joint custody is the same as equal physical custody?

Answer: False. Joint legal custody happens when both parents share equal rights in making major decisions concerning the child. Joint physical custody means that each parent has scheduled contact with the child but not necessarily for equal amounts of time.

 

True or False? Mothers are always given preference in custody disputes.

Answer: False. Child custody laws in Alabama require the courts to provide for and protect children’s best interests. The focus is on the children. In determining how to serve each child’s best interests, the court will consider their age, sex, educational and emotional needs, what has been their norm during the marriage, and the relationship each parent has with the child.

 

True or False? A child can decide which parent he or she prefers to live with when they turn 16 years old.

Answer: False. Although the judge will take into consideration a child’s parental preference if they are “of sufficient age and capacity,” in the state of Alabama there is no age at which a child can make a legal determination regarding his or her custody. The age of majority in Alabama is 19.

 

True or False? A parent who has had an affair is considered automatically unfit to have custody of the child.

Answer: False. Infidelity is not a de facto disqualifier, but if the behavior had a significant or negative impact on the child, the court might take it into consideration when determining physical custody. Substance abuse or abuse or neglect towards a child, domestic violence, cruelty to your spouse, mental illness that does not respond to treatment, religious affiliation or activity that might have adversely affected the child and the like are all examples of parental conduct that will carefully be examined by the courts in determining custody.

Have more questions about child custody and divorce? Don’t go it alone. Talk to your family law attorney to determine the best solutions for you and your children.


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