The negotiation of child custody and visitation rights can be heated and emotional. Children often have trouble coping and adjusting when they are placed in the middle of their parent’s problems. We work hard to help parents reach consensual agreements on child custody matters to minimize the negative impact of divorce on the children. If agreement cannot be reached, the courts will determine custody and visitation rights.
Custody is not presumed by the court to go either to the mother or the father. When initial custody decisions are made, the sole determining factor is what is in the best interests of the child. Most fit parents are granted joint legal custody of their children. Joint legal custody allows both parents to participate in decisions about the child’s education, medical care, and religious training. Courts may also award joint physical custody, allowing both parents to share actual physical custody. In most cases, however, one parent is awarded primary physical custody of the child and the other has visitation rights.
Courts encourage liberal visitation with the non-custodial parent. If the parties cannot reach agreement, most courts order a standard visitation arrangement. Standard visitation is typically every other weekend, one overnight stay during the week and shared time during school breaks, summer vacations and holidays. Courts may also order restricted or supervised visitation in situations where parents have demonstrated inferior parenting skills or when there is abuse or neglect involved.
If there is a material change in circumstances after your divorce is finalized, you are entitled to petition the court for a modification of your divorce decree. The material change can be economic, allowing either a decrease or increase in child support. It can also relate to child custody and visitation arrangements and entitle you to request a change to promote the well-being of your children. We provide the legal guidance needed to determine whether a material change exists and the representation in connection with the modification proceedings.
Experienced Child Custody Lawyers
For advice and representation in child custody matters in Albertville, Guntersville, Boaz, Arab, Alabama or neighboring communities, contact The Hawkins Law Firm.