In Alabama, parents will be allowed to have a relationship with their children after a divorce. Depending on the facts of their cases, a judge may award them either physical or legal custody of their kids. A judge will also need to determine if a parent will receive sole custody or if the parents will share it.
Legal and physical custody explained
Legal custody means that a parent has the right to make decisions about a child’s upbringing. For instance, if you have legal custody rights to your child, you can decide where that child goes to school or what types of medical treatment can be administered. Physical custody refers to the fact that your child will stay at your home overnight. If you have physical child custody rights, you may be exempt from making child support payments.
Sole and joint custody explained
Sole legal custody means you are the only one who gets to decide about your child. Sole physical custody means that your child primarily lives with you. If a judge issues a joint custody order, you must work with the other parent when making decisions about your child or allow your child to live with your former partner part of the time. It is not unusual for a parent to have legal custody rights without physical custody rights.
It doesn’t mean you’ll never see your child again if you are denied physical custody of your child. Instead, you will receive generous visitation rights, including sleepovers or extended visits with your child at your home. In addition, a Judge may reevaluate an initial custody order if circumstances warrant it.