One of the most emotionally-charged aspects of a divorce is child custody. As the responsibilities of both parents have grown and evolved, traditional child custody arrangements are no longer the norm. In the past, the mother was nearly always awarded custody by default. Now, however, courts consider a number of factors when deciding who should receive custody of the children.
Some factors include:
- The preferences of the children
- Any history of abuse
- The proximity of each parent’s home to the other home
- The ability of the parents to work well together
- The emotional, physical, and financial stability of each parent
Many times, parents can work together amicably to decide upon a custody agreement that is beneficial for all parties involved. There are two types of child custody that must be determined by the court: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the children will physically reside. Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make decisions for the children. Joint custody (either physical custody, legal custody, or both) is best for many families. It encourages both parents to stay involved and active in the lives of their children. However, if both parents will live in separate homes, sole physical custody may need to be determined. Parenting plans can help parents specify where the children will reside, how visitation will be arranged, and how conflict and other concerns will be addressed. It is often best when parents can make decisions about parenting plans outside of court, with the help of a child custody lawyer in Birmingham, Alabama like the Zwiebel Law Firm. However, our child custody attorneys understand that sometimes parents cannot make these decisions together.
When parents cannot decide upon the best arrangement, they can meet with a mediator or allow the court to decide. Many couples prefer to use a mediator as it allows them to have some control in the decision-making process. As Birmingham family law attorneys, we at the Zwiebel Law Firm understand that your most valuable asset is your relationship with your children. We can help you prove your stability and the benefits of your home so the court considers custody favorably. Contact us today online or by phone at 205-623-1001.
Child Custody Modification in Birmingham, Alabama
In general, the courts try to uphold custody determinations made when parents originally got divorced. It can be very difficult to make child custody modifications in Birmingham, Alabama. The burden of proof is very high. There are few circumstances where a judge will grant a custody modification. What are these circumstances and what must you be able to prove?
- The parent seeking a child custody modification must show that circumstances have changed significantly since the first custody decision was made.
- The parent must show that the child’s best interests have changed and that a new child care arrangement will promote those interests.
- The parent must show that the benefits of a custody change outweigh the disruption of a change.
These are high standards to meet. However, there are certainly circumstances where an individual might want to seek a child custody modification. For example, a parent might want to seek a child custody modification if the child was granted admission to a competitive out of state high school or school that would promote the child’s talents. A parent might also seek a custody modification if one parent was convicted of a crime or if the parent was found to be a danger to the child. The child’s safety is paramount and this might include the need to change custody arrangements.
Parents who want to modify custody in Birmingham, Alabama must bring their case before the court. Because the burden of proof is so high, it may be wise to speak to a qualified child custody modification lawyer like the Zwiebel Law Firm in Birmingham, Alabama. Our firm can gather evidence and build a strong case to support the outcome that is in your child’s best interests.
Protect Your Family
A child custody lawyer can help you and your ex draft a parenting plan that will be accepted by the court. Even if you and your ex agree about child custody, it can be helpful to have a child custody lawyer at your side, helping you understand what the courts are looking for in a parenting plan. If you and your ex cannot decide about matters of child custody, it is even more important to seek a qualified attorney. The Zwiebel Law Firm are child custody attorneys in Birmingham, Alabama who work hard to protect the best interests of the child. Our firm can help you protect your family and reach an agreement that is in your children’s best interests.