Child Custody and Visitation
Custody and Visitation can be an issue on a variety of cases from divorce to grandparent visitation. We are prepared to take on the most difficult custody cases. We want to make sure that your children are the benefactor to our hard work. You need a passionate Birmingham custody attorney. At Magic City Law, we have two. Through our experiences acting as Guardians Ad Litem for minor children involved in family law disputes, we have realized that the needs of minor children can often be overlooked in family law disputes.
When our lawyers build legal responses to family law disputes, we do so with minor children in mind. By developing legal strategies that protect the best interests of children, we ensure the solutions reached benefit the entire family unit.We work for your children’s best interests. Sometimes parents get lost in the battle of custody or visitation issues and forget why they’re fighting. We’re here to remind you what you are fighting for and how to achieve the best outcome for your children.
Custodial Legal Definitions
Having a Birmingham Custody Attorney is necessary in navigating the legal jargon going forward:
Joint Legal Custody: Both parents will have the ability to participate in decision making process of the child’s life. It is quite common that one parent is deemed to be allowed to make the final decision in all aspects of the child’s life as they have been doing that for years. However, the trend is heavily focused on having both parents actively involved in making decisions in their child’s life. There are times when the parents know they may not agree on all decisions, and knowing that they would forever battle over one person always having the veto power, they come to a compromise. In the latter situation, parents will divide up the different parts of a child’s life, and each take the responsibility for those (education, medical/dental, civic, cultural, religious) choices.
Joint Physical Custody: This means each parent receives periods of custody or time with the minor child. These periods of custody or visitation may or may not be equal amounts of time. There are a multitude of factors that go into how much time the parents will get with the children. Ex: Age, proximity to the child’s school, parent’s work schedule
Sole Physical and Legal Custody: One parent has the decision making authority over the child’s life. The other parent can voice their opinion, but when it comes down to it, the one with the authority is the one who makes the final decision. This also means that the other parent may or may not have visitation according to the facts of the case.
Experienced Birmingham Custody Attorney
A juvenile court finds dependency through a court process when a child is determined by to be in need of care or supervision due to abuse or neglect by a parent, legal guardian, legal custodian, or other custodian. The courts consider many factors in determining whether a child is dependent. DHR is usually the Petitioner in these cases. Further, the court appoints a Guardian ad Litem to represent the child’s best interests.
Parents are also afforded the opportunity to have a lawyer represent them in these types of cases. Our attorneys have a vast amount of experience in representing parents in dependency cases. Call one of our Birmingham Dependency Attorneys to set up a consultation today.
Divorce & Child Custody
Divorce is always a hard issue, but it becomes an insurmountable issue when children are involved. It’s amazing how quickly a marriage where both parents have been putting forth a façade of perfection for years, can dissolve illuminating two emotionally & physically abusive neglectful monsters (or that’s the what complaints/answers/ counterclaims would have you think.) The parents go from being teammates to enemies in a matter of weeks. The parents are now documenting each bath, trip to the doctor, and bedtime story to prove that they are the better parent.
Looking at what’s in the “best interests” of a child isn’t exactly an easy task, but the factors to consider truly help with making the decision a little easier. Here are the following factors the trial judge will consider:
The sex & age of the children;
The characteristics and needs of each child, including their emotional, social, moral, material, and educational needs;
The respective home environments offered by each party;
The characteristics of those seeking custody, including age, character, stability, mental and physical health;
The capacity and interest of each parent to provide for the emotional, social, moral, material, and educational needs of the children;
The interpersonal relationship between each child and each parent;
The international relationship between the children;
The effect on the child of disrupting or continuing an existing custodial status;
Preference of the child, if the child is of sufficient age and maturity;
The report and recommendation of any expert witness or other independent investigator;
The available alternatives;
Any other relevant matter which may be present.
In these cases (which is very often) we explain the McClendon Standard to our clients. This standard is that “the positive good brought by a modification must more than offset the inherently disruptive effect caused by uprooting the child. The parent seeking the custody change must show not only that she is fit, but also that the change of custody materially promotes the child’s best interest and welfare.” (Benefit of Change in Custody + Stability of new home + danger/or negative facts of staying in current home – disruption to child’s routine & life = judicial decision.)
Conversely, if there isn’t a true physical custodian, if the parties have a joint legal and physical custody agreement, then you don’t have to apply the McClendon Standard. At that point, you go back to the “best interests” standard in which you started when the divorce began. (Would it be in the child’s best interests for the court to modify the agreement?)
It is very difficult to overcome this standard. This standard ensures stability for children and a consistent upbringing. However, it also provides a means for parents to protect their children if the custodial parent is not properly providing a stable safe home for their child. The legal realm is quite fond of keeping the children out of the legal system regardless of whether the parents can’t stop fighting.
Contact a Birmingham Custody Attorney Today
If you need a Birmingham Custody Attorney, look no further. Magic City Law has two. AshLeigh Meyer Dunham and April Hare Deluca want to speak with you about your custody case. Give us a call at 205-582-2832 to schedule your consultation.