Child Custody & Visitation

Parenting Plans: Child Custody and Visitation

Working out a plan for child custody and visitation can be one of the most challenging aspects of a divorce. Even though you will no longer be married, you and your ex-spouse will remain in each other's lives as parents to your children.

At Burttram & Henderson in Birmingham, Alabama, our lawyers help clients work out child custody and visitation arrangements that are in the best interest of the child.

There are three basic types of child custody and visitation arrangements:

  • Standard custody and visitation means one parent has primary physical custody and the other has the child on the first and third weekends of the month, some holidays and for 30 days during the summer.
  • Joint custody means the parents share custody equally. The children may live for three, six or 12 months with one parent followed by an equal amount of time with the other parent. Alabama courts generally consider it too disruptive to the child to change living arrangements on a week-by-week basis.
  • Shared custody can involve living with one parent during the school year and with the other during the summer or different variations between Standard custody and Joint custody.

In Alabama, in the initial custody determination, there is no longer a presumption as to which parent the child or children should live with. Both parents are initially viewed equally in the eyes of the law, as long as they are both fit and proper parents.

Building a Record of Parental Responsibility

The court often grants primary physical custody of a child to the parent who can prove he or she played the most hands-on role in the child's upbringing. Who signs the child in and out of day care? Who signs the sheets acknowledging that the homework has been completed? Who goes to school conferences or takes the kids to doctor and dentist appointments? Copies of any of these documents can be very persuasive to a judge.

What Happens if I Want to Move Away?

A custodial parent cannot move more than 60 miles away from the non-custodial parent without first informing the other parent and then seeking the permission of the court. Please contact our office for a free consultation about move away issues and other modifications of child custody and visitation orders.

Whether you are divorced, legally separated or were never married to your children's other parent, our family law attorneys can help. Please contact us today to arrange a free consultation and case evaluation.