You can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.to see how it can help you.
You can also use Custody X Change to:
Your parenting plan should explain:
In Alabama, you will be legally obligated to follow the parenting plan once it is approved by the court, so you should put a lot of thought into it and be as specific as possible. It should include guidelines that define the responsibilities of each parent.
You may also include any issues you and your ex can decide on now. This will help prevent future disagreements. You may include anything you like.
Some parents include stipulations regarding:
No. Old laws discriminated against fathers and gave custody to the mother, but they were overturned in 1981. Now Alabama courts must consider the character and moral fitness of the parents when ruling on custody. The State of Alabama actually prefers that parents share custody, so the children get to spend time with and be raised by both parents (Alabama Code, Section 30-3-1).
Alabama Code, Section 30-3-152 defines the various types of custody:
Joint Legal Custody: Both parents have equal rights to make major decisions for the child on important matters such as the child's health care, education, and religious upbringing. You may also divide responsibilities, so that one of you is in charge of making certain decisions, while both of you make joint decisions on other ones.
Joint physical custody: Both parents share physical custody of the child so that the child gets to spend plenty of time with both of you on a regular basis. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to share time with the child 50/50, but the child should be able to spend a substantial amount of time with each of you.
Joint Custody: Both parents share joint legal custody and joint physical custody.
Sole legal custody: Only one parent has the right and responsibility to make major decisions for the child.
Sole physical custody: The child lives with one parent and the other parent has visitation.
Alabama courts have a written preference of joint custody agreements over sole custody agreements and the court will consider a joint custody arrangement in every case.
Ultimately the court will determine the type of custody arrangement based on what is best for the child (Alabama Code, Section 30-3-152).
The factors that affect if joint custody is awarded are:
The judge considers the factors that determine the best interests of the child, including:
Basically, the judge will need to make sure you are a good parent, have a clean and healthy home, and are willing and able to take care of the child properly. The judge looks at all of the information and makes a decision (Alabama Code, Section 30-3-150).
The top fifteen cities in Alabama (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Hoover, Dothan, Auburn, Decatur, Madison, Florence, Gadsden, Prattville, Phenix City, Vestavia Hills.