Alabama’s Child Custody Laws

For divorce cases, the law of Alabama mandates that the courts:

Make such orders concerning custody of the children pending the action as their safety and well-being may require, and give the children of the marriage to either parent, as may seem proper, regarding the moral character and prudence of the parents and the age and of the children. However, if the wife abandons the husband, he will be awarded custody of the children after they reach seven, provided he is a fit guardian. 

Alabama courts have the inherent authority to issue orders regarding the custody and care of minors regardless of the statute. Absent a strong demonstration and reasons for the separation, an Alabama court has not supported a custody award that effectively separates siblings. 

Understand this better from an attorney who you can get legal advice from.

If your divorce involves the custody of your child, Alabama law states that your child will become a ward of the state.

Any issue involving a child subject to a pending custody proceeding is under the court’s scrutiny and jurisdiction because the child is a “ward of the court.” A child born to a married woman is automatically considered her husband’s biological child. As long as the assumed father keeps making paternity claims, no one, not even the mother, may legally contest his paternity. Anyone making the opposite claim has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the husband is not the biological parent.

The court makes the paternity decision in custody cases.

After a court issues a determination of paternity, it bars the parties from arguing the child’s paternity in the future. The court has extensive discretion in what it can decree regarding the child. Any communication with the child’s school or medical providers may be prohibited by a restraining order issued by the court. 

Issues of child custody and spousal abuse

Domestic or family violence is grounds for a rebuttable presumption under Alabama law. The Alabama Supreme Court has consistently ruled that giving a violent parent sole custody, joint legal custody, or joint physical custody of a child is not in the kid’s best interest. However, a husband’s guilty plea to domestic violence against his wife does not automatically compel the court to apply the presumption.

 If the husband was found to have been physically abusive during the marriage but was awarded joint physical custody anyway, the husband could lose his case at the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. While it is fitting that the law protects victims of domestic violence, it is also possible for abuse to occur throughout the divorce process. During a child custody case in Alabama, accusations of abuse often fly back and forth between the parents. 

Zain Ali