Child Custody Laws in Alabama

Smiling mother and young daughter

Who honestly knows what to expect when you step into a courtroom? Well, besides legal professionals. That’s why its so important to do your research beforehand. You definitely don’t want to run into any unexpected surprises when you’re dealing with something as serious as the custody of your child. Get to know the Alabama child custody laws to better prepare yourself for any bumps along the road ahead.

Types of custody enforced by Alabama child custody laws

Alabama family courts primarily prefer to allow both co-parents to share the rights and responsibilities of raising their child. This is especially true in cases where younger children are involved. It is common practice in Alabama to assure those younger children have frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact with both co-parents, provided that they are fit to handle their parental responsibilities. This does not exclude the possibility that sole physical and legal custody can be granted or any variation of the two. Alabama child custody laws also give co-parents the opportunity to create and submit their own parenting plans to be reviewed and considered by the court.

What factors do Alabama child custody laws take into account?

Because it encourages frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact with both parents, Alabama child custody laws and courts tend to favor granting joint custody to co-parents. Most family courts and family law professionals in the state of Alabama consider this to be in the best interest of the child. In most cases, joint custody does not imply that both co-parents will receive an equal amount of physical custody of the child. Time is typically split unevenly such as 40/60 or 30/70 instead of split in half. The Alabama child custody laws and courts must determine how the time will be split based on various factors that they observe in the courtroom. These factors include but are not limited to the following.

The gender and current age of the child. Many U.S. states have considered gender a reasonable factor to consider but a lot have moved away from this idea. It is important to remember that Alabama child custody laws still consider this.

The home environment that each co-parent can provide for the child. More generally how each co-parent can provide for the child, financially and emotionally.

The willingness of each co-parent to facilitate a strong and lasting relationship between their child and the other co-parent.

The ability or lack of ability for the co-parents to agree on the terms of their joint custody arrangement. This more generally shows the ability of the co-parents to cooperate with each other.

The geographic location of both co-parents and how that might affect the joint custody agreement, but more importantly how it might affect the child mentally and emotionally.

Relocation and Alabama child custody laws

Within the past decade, Alabama child custody laws have been modified and now require that the custodial co-parent who is planning to move give proper notification to the non-custodial co-parent. This only applies to those who plan to move a significant distance away from the non-custodial co-parent. This amount would have to be enough to greatly interfere with their custody agreement. After given proper notice the non-custodial co-parent can object to the move and schedule a court hearing. These changes to the Alabama child custody laws give the courts reason to believe that the move is not in the best interest of the child when the non-custodial parent objects to it.

This information is not to be used as legal advice. For additional aide and legal information please consult with an Alabama family law professional regarding Alabama child custody laws. For a list of resources in Alabama visit our Helpful Links – Alabama page. The OurFamilyWizard website® is dedicated to providing co-parents with the tools and resources they need to easily manage their custody agreements. After becoming familiar with the Alabama child custody laws, please visit the Child Custody page for more information.


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.