Divorce can already be a difficult and messy process, and if you have any children, custody arrangements will comprise a significant portion of your divorce. There are a few different types of custody under Alabama law, and these include joint legal, joint physical, sole legal and sole physical. All of these will be discussed in further detail below.
Joint Legal Custody
As the name suggests, joint custody refers to whenever both parents share authority over their child. Within each type of custody arrangement (joint or sole), there is also a distinction between physical and legal custody. Physical custody typically refers to a living arrangement, while legal custody refers to the parent, guardian or caregiver’s ability to make important decisions for the child, such as which school the child will attend or what treatments the child might receive in case of a medical emergency. In joint legal custody, both parents of the child have equal ability to make these types of decisions for the child. It is always important to keep the child’s best interests in mind when making important or life-changing decisions for them.
Joint Physical Custody
As explained previously, physical custody typically refers to where the child will primarily reside. In joint physical custody, the child will live with each of the parents equally. However, this custody arrangement is not always possible depending on the circumstances of the family as a whole. In order for this custody arrangement to work, certain conditions must be met. Both parents must live in close proximity to each other, and they must be willing to work with each other to an extent to raise their child. Additionally, if there is any past history of violence, domestic abuse or abuse in general, this type of custody arrangement will not be allowed by the court.
Sole Legal Custody
As the name suggests, this form of custody is much different than joint physical custody and joint legal custody. In this form of custody, responsibilities are distributed unequally between the parents. Only one parent is responsible for making any important, legal decisions for the child. The other parent will not be able to make any decisions for the child. In some cases, they may visit the child occasionally. Other times, they might not have any contact with the child at all. This type of custody agreement might be reached if there are a lot of problems within the family. These problems can include things such as drug abuse or physical abuse. The court may not see one of the parents as being fit to make decisions for the child as well.
Sole Physical Custody
This is the last type of custody arrangement that will be discussed. Sole physical custody is when the child resides with one parent the majority of the time. There can be many benefits to this type of custody arrangement. The child will not have to go back and forth between parents, and the level of change they experience as a result of the divorce will be minimized as a whole.
At the law office of Holman Law Firm, we can help you to answer difficult questions related to child custody and visitation. We help our clients focus on what is in the best interests of their children. We have decades of experience and would be more than happy to represent you in court. Contact us today at (850)-290-0588 to learn more.