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Understanding 'best interests of the child' in child custody

In all child custody matters, Alabama courts consider the "best interests of the child" above all else. While this phrase is used frequently, it may not be clear to you what, exactly, it means.

Although most parents want what is best for their child, they do not always agree on what that is. In today's post, we will explain what factors the courts consider when determining whether a child custody agreement supports the best interests of the child or children involved.

What does 'best interests' mean?

In Alabama, a custody agreement that supports the best interests of the child is one that ensures the child's health and safety are priorities. Alabama also favors the child spending time with both parents, unless it would risk child's safety to do so.

What factors are considered?

Saying that a custody agreement should support the health and safety of the child is still fairly vague. To help you better understand what the court means by that, here are a few of the factors that courts consider when determining or approving a child custody order:

  • Age of each child
  • Gender of each child
  • Physical and mental health of each parent
  • Each parent's ability to provide for the needs of the child
  • Each parent's financial situation
  • Home environment of each parent
  • Child's preference, if he or she is old enough to express it
  • How parenting duties have historically been shared
  • How a proposed custody plan would affect the child's life
  • Each parent's geographical location

What are your options?

A custody plan that supports the best interests of your children could take various forms. You and your ex could have joint custody, meaning your child spends nights with both of you. Or, one of you could have sole custody while the other is awarded visitation rights. The right plan for you depends on factors that are unique to your lives.

Learn More From An Experienced Lawyer

There is no single solution for a custody plan that supports the best interests of the child. The right plan for you and your family depends on your specific situation, which is why it can be helpful to work with a lawyer who can explain which options may best fit your scenario. Having the right attorney by your side can also help ensure your rights and those of your children are protected.

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Jason J. Bonar, Attorney at Law, P.C.
1 Independence Plaza
Suite 814
Homewood, Alabama 35209

Phone: 205-208-8118
Fax: 205-536-6945
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