If you’re reading this article it might mean that you already have a custody agreement in place. That initial agreement might not realistically reflect your current state, meaning it could be outdated. Custody agreements are some of the biggest points of contention divorcing parents go through. Many parents are heavily affected by a divorce; dividing assets, figuring out living arrangements, and custody agreements. All these things can weigh heavily on adults, not just their kids. Luckily enough, modifying an agreement does not have to be as difficult because the original process is more complex. You might also be reading this to get a better understanding of how to modify an agreement in the future. To get a better understanding of how the initial custody agreement comes to place, let’s run over some basics.
What affects initial Custody Agreements?
- Were the parents married?
- Do the parents live together?
- Is there any history of abuse?
Other factors might be:
- Child’s (or children’s) age
- Parent’s lifestyles
- Preferences of the child
- Current parental involvement
Unlike other states like Georgia, where a modification can only be done in two-year increments, such a law does not exist in Alabama. Modifications of child custody in Alabama depends on changing circumstances regarding the parent(s) and child (or children). Also, unlike other states where a child can ask a judge for modifications when the child turns a certain age (like 11 or 14 in Georgia), in Alabama there is no specified age. Here are some of the factors that go into determining a modification of child custody:
- Age of the child
- Request from the child
- Financial situation of a parent has changed
- Change in the location of a parent (moving, deployment, etc)
- Change in child’s living conditions
Can the same attorney represent both parents during a change in custody?
As is the case with the original custody agreement which could have been made during a divorce, it is not only highly recommended to get separate attorneys for the child’s parents, it can also be illegal or unethical for the same attorney to represent both parents. Having the proper representation can make the modification process much smoother. Proper representation can also help guarantee your rights as a parent and mother/father during the process. There is also a process for an uncontested custody modification process. This is the process where both parents formally agree to a change. Although not seeking representation might come to mind if the agreement is uncontested. We still highly recommend you contact one because there are fine legal details which might not be apparent at first sight. Even during an uncontested change.
Contact Our Law Firm
If you are going through a divorce in Alabama, seeking a custody agreement for the first time, or are thinking of modifying an existing custody agreement. Call LaPlante, Merritt, Faulkner, Wilson & Clay, LLC at (256) 236-7354 today to arrange a consultation. This process can be aided tremendously when dealing with experienced family law attorneys like those at our firm.