If you’re planning to get a divorce in Alabama and you have children, then you probably already know that the process is hard on everyone involved. Kids will have to adapt to new routines and possibly a new home and a new school. These considerations can make custody negotiations challenging.

There are several types of child custody arrangements in Alabama. When considering your options, it’s important to think about both the practical factors involved with the possible custody arrangements and your children’s best interests.

What Are the Types of Child Custody in Alabama?

In Alabama, there are five types of child custody. They are:

  • Sole physical custody—the child lives with one parent full-time and the other parent has visitation rights
  • Sole legal custody—one parent makes all the legal decisions for the child
  • Joint physical custody—the child lives with each parent part of the time, not necessarily equally
  • Joint legal custody—both parents are involved in any legal decisions for the child
  • Joint custody—both parents share legal and physical custody

These types of custody arrangements can be combined, depending on the situation. For example, the parents could share physical custody, but only one parent is responsible for making important decisions. Or, legal custody could be assigned to each parent for different types of decisions.

Every family situation is different. Ideally, the divorcing parents should work together to amicably decide on these important custody arrangements.

Who Gets Custody in a Divorce?

In general, the state of Alabama prefers that divorcing couples maintain joint custody if possible. This is to ensure that children are able to regularly spend time with both of their parents. However, there are certainly exceptions to this, and individual couples can either decide on a custody arrangement out of court or accept that the court will make the final decision regarding custody.

At the end of the day, the court’s concern is the best interests of the child. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement, they will award custody only after reviewing the facts of the case and considering which option will help the child or children maintain a normal, happy life.

How Can You Decide Custody?

Child custody discussions have high stakes and the process can get emotional. If you and your ex can’t work together to decide on a custody arrangement on your own, it’s important to have experienced legal representation to help you.

Our family and divorce attorneys in Birmingham, AL, can help you create a plan for negotiating custody in the best interests of your children. Call (205) 858-9224 today to discuss your case.