In any Alabama family law case in which children are involved, custody is likely to be a primary focus. It can be reasonably amicable or there might be rampant disagreement with each side drawing a line in the sand. There are several types of custody determinations that can be made. One that might be beneficial to everyone involved is joint custody. There are fundamental requirements under the law for there to be joint custody. Understanding these and other aspects of a potential joint custody award is imperative from the start.
Key considerations in a potential joint custody determination
As with any child custody case, the best interests of the child are paramount. The factors that are considered with joint custody are identical to those that are considered if a parent wants physical custody, legal custody or sole custody. That includes the following: if the parents agree or disagree on joint custody; if the parents can put aside any lingering negativity between them and discuss the child and his or her needs in an evenhanded way; if the parents can encourage a strong relationship between the child and the other parent; if there are allegations of abuse; and how near or far the parents live in proximity to each other.
It is not necessary for the parents to agree on joint custody. The key, again, is the child’s best interests. In situations where both parents request joint custody, the court will start from the perspective that it will serve the child’s best interests. The court will agree to it unless there are specific findings that it should not be granted.
With child custody, having experienced advice can be crucial
Child custody can be emotional and complicated. Whether there is common ground for the parents to agree on joint custody or the parties are in dispute over it and want another template, it is useful to be prepared for every eventuality. Providing evidence and presenting a coherent argument is critical. Discussing the situation with those who understand family law can be helpful in trying to reach a satisfactory outcome that suits the parents and provides a safe environment for children.