Alabama Custody and Visitation Schedules
Your child custody and visitation schedule is important to you and to your child. Here's how to set up an Alabama visitation schedule.
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (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 schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents.
In Alabama, custody and visitation schedules should account for all the time each parent will spend with the child. Typically, there are three parts to a child custody schedule:
A regular residential schedule that gives the child the frequent, continuing contact with both parents. The amount of time the child spends with each parent should depend on the child's needs and the type of physical custody the parents have.
A holiday schedule that allows the child to spend time with both parents on holidays and special occasions. Most parents just rotate the holidays and alternate them in even and odd years, but you may make the schedule however you want.
A vacation schedule to give the child extended time with each parent for vacations and school breaks. Since it is hard to predict personal vacation time, you may just write rules for how to spend vacation time, such as how long it will be and how much advanced notice is needed. If you use the software, you may later edit the calendar to show when the actual vacation time will be.
Alabama does not have a standard visitation schedule for the entire state, but most of the counties have their own, which vary.
For example, the Baldwin County Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court includes an order that generally mandates standard visitation to be every other weekend, (from Friday at 6pm to Sunday at 6pm), every Wednesday night, an equally divided Spring Break, a summer visitation of six consecutive weeks, one week at Christmas (beginning at 2pm on Christmas Day), and holidays which are alternated in even and odd years.
Mobile County's standard visitation schedule is similar to that of Baldwin County, except the summer visitation is only one month and the parents alternate Spring Break and the Thanksgiving holiday.
While each county's schedule is different, the standard visitation schedule typically consists of the other parent having the child on alternating weekends, some holidays, and for a period of time in the summer.
Absolutely. Standard visitation schedules were created to make sure each parent will have the minimum amount of parenting time suggested by the court. You may make changes to the schedule or create a new one, as long as the minimum amount of parenting time is included.
You should consider your availability and work schedules, how close you live to each other and the child's school, and the emotional and developmental needs of your child when creating the schedule.
Some common visitation schedules are alternating weeks, a 2/2/5/5 rotating schedule, or a 4/3/3/4 rotating schedule. Alternating weekends, with the "weekend" beginning on a Thursday (or Friday) night, with one (or two) set days of visitation during the other week is another option.
Ultimately the best schedule you can make is one that works for the family while serving the best interest of the child.
Sole physical custody means one parent is the primary caregiver. That parent has primary physical custody, which means the child will live with that parent. The other parent has visitation.
Joint physical custody means the child shall have frequent and substantial time with both parents, and they shall share physical custody. It does not necessarily mean the parents share time with the child equally.
Joint custody is the type of custody the State of Alabama prefers to award (Alabama Code, Section 30-3-150), provided it is in the best interests of the child.
- Whenever parents voluntarily separate in Alabama, the court has the authority to grant custody to either parent.
- When deciding which parent will have custody, the court will consider the moral fitness of each parent, the ability of each parent to care for the children, and the child's age and gender.
- In a situation where a wife abandons the husband, the husband has custody of the children after the children are seven years of age.
When the court is deciding if a sole or joint custody schedule is best, the court will consider the best interests of the child and the following factors (found in Section 30-3-152):
- Whether or not the parents are able to cooperate with each other and make joint decisions
- Whether or not the parents were able to reach an agreement on the custody arrangements
- How close the parents live to each other
- Any history of spousal abuse, child abuse, or kidnapping of the child
Even after your case has been decided and your custody schedule is made a court order, Custody X Change will remain a valuable tool.
These are just some of the things you can do with the software:
- Sync the custody schedule to your iPhone, Blackberry, Outlook, and many other mobile devices and calendars.
- Edit the calendar when things change.
- Keep track of the visitation schedule by entering in the actual time of visitation and any notes about the visitation.
- Print a report that shows the difference between scheduled and actual parenting time.
- Modify an existing agreement with the actual-time and journaling reports.
- Print multiple copies of the agreement for you, the child, and the other parent so everyone is one the same page.
- Enjoy the time with your child because you aren't worrying about the visitation schedule or agreement.
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.