Family law is a matter that can have a significant impact on an individual’s family life. Most commonly, parental law takes place when family members need to resolve legal-related issues, such as child custody and support, divorce, alimony, division of property, and father’s rights.
In the U.S., parental law differs from state to state. If you need to head to court because of a parental rights concern, you need to know how legislation works in your area. That’s especially true in the state of Alabama, which has a confusing set of regulations.
In this article, we highlight the main statements that apply to Alabama’s parental rights to help parents resolve their family issues in the most beneficial way for them and their children.
Table Of Contents
5 Most Common Issues That Apply to Alabama’s Family Law
1. Alabama Divorce Cases
Alabama allows spouses to apply for divorce based on either “fault” or “no-fault” divorce grounds. The latter is a more typical case, as it’s cheaper and easier to register divorce on a “no-fault” basis.
What’s more, filing and proving a fault-based divorce can negatively influence a couple’s property division and child custody. So, parents usually agree on filing a no-fault divorce to have equal parental rights.
2. Alabama Property Division
Although many states in the U.S. follow an “equitable distribution” of property division during divorce (50/50 division basis), Alabama’s law may differ. The judge doesn’t necessarily divide the property equally for both sides and can make a decision according to what he/she considers fair in each particular case.
The judge in Alabama divides property depending on whether it was acquired during the marriage or before it. For instance, if one of the spouses purchased a car or a house with their own income during the marriage, it is considered marital. The non-marital property is the one a spouse acquired before marrying their partner.
3. Alabama Alimony
The Alabama family law allows awarding alimony from one spouse to another for various reasons. The court awards alimony according to the needs of the one spouse and the possibilities of the other.
When awarding alimony, the court can consider the following factors:
- Property and assets of each spouse
- Marital assets that will be equitably divided
- Actual and future earning abilities of spouses
- Standard of living in the marriage
- Age and health of each spouse
- Whose behavior is the reason for a fault-based divorce
It’s important to remember that the court of Alabama reserves the ability to modify an alimony award in the future.
4. Alabama Child Custody
As Alabama family law is aimed to act in the best interests of a child, child custody is usually awarded to both parents. The court can award:
- Joint physical custody — both parents spend time with their children
- Joint legal custody — both parents have the right to make decisions regarding raising their children
- Both physical and legal custody
To make the “best interests of the child” decision, the court of Alabama examines the following factors:
- Age and sex of a child
- Needs of a child (educational, emotional, social, mental, material, etc.) and the ability of each parent to support those needs
- Home environments offered by each parent
- Age, character, material state, and mental and physical health of a parent who applies for custody
- Interpersonal relationship between a child and each parent
- Interpersonal relationship between children
- Preference of a child if they are old enough to make a decision
- Recommendation by an expert witness
Note that any additional information can be used by the court to make a relevant custody decision.
5. Fathers Rights Alabama
In the past, judges considered mothers to be better parents for youngsters than fathers. It was known as the “tender year’s doctrine” and took place because mothers used to spend all their time with kids while fathers were the breadwinners.
Nowadays, when women can work the same as men, mothers and fathers have equal rights regarding child custody.
However, to demonstrate that they’re a better parent, fathers need to work extra hard and show their involvement in a child’s life. It includes being present at school events, spending time with a kid on a regular basis, sharing domestic responsibilities, taking kids to doctor’s appointments, etc.
Termination of Parental Rights in Alabama
When a parent expresses no desire, intentions, or ability to care for the child, it’s possible to terminate parental rights and release a parent of liability.
Signing over parental rights in Alabama means that biological parents will no longer be responsible for raising a child and taking part in the decision-making processes regarding a kid’s life.
A parent who isn’t involved in raising a child is non-custodial. A father or mother who poses a threat to the kid can also be eligible for parental rights termination.
In Alabama, termination of parental rights occurs on a voluntary or involuntary basis.
Voluntary Parental Rights Termination
Voluntary termination of parental rights occurs when a parent agrees to be deprived of parental rights and responsibilities. The termination ends the relationship between a child and a parent.
A parent who terminates parental rights voluntarily will no longer be involved in raising a child and making any decisions regarding their life and health.
The most common reasons for voluntary termination of parental rights are:
- Adoption of a child by another person
- Wishing to stop paying child support
Although the court of Alabama can issue the voluntary termination of parental rights, a parent who applies for it needs to prove their points in the court to be released from parental rights. Termination is possible only if the best interest of a child is met.
Involuntary Parental Rights Termination
The court of Alabama can force parents to terminate their parental rights involuntarily if they fail to support, encourage, and protect a child. In this case, a parent is considered non-custodial and forced to terminate their parental rights unwillingly.
Grounds for Termination Of Parental Rights
The court of Alabama can’t deprive a person of parental rights without a serious reason. The judge will consider specific grounds that may facilitate the decision to terminate parental rights.
The most common factors for termination of parental rights include:
- Abandonment of a child
- Long-term mental or emotional illness
- Long-term alcohol or substance addiction
- Abuse or neglect
- Sexual offense
- Failure to support a child
- Long-term incarceration caused by a felony conviction
Note that the court can have other reasons to terminate parental rights in each individual case.
Can Parental Controls Help You Reserve Parental Rights?
As was noted earlier in this article, parents need to be with their kids on a regular basis if they want to win a case in court. To prove that you deserve to win child custody, you need to be aware of every aspect of your kid’s life.
It’s natural if you want to give your kid all the best and, for this reason, spend a lot of time at work. However, the court may consider such behavior as neglecting your child’s need for attention and support. That’s why you may need a solution that allows you to find out what your kid is up to when you’re busy at work.
A parental control app, such as mSpy, can become your life-saver as it allows you to monitor your kid’s activity remotely. As a result, you’ll always be aware of your child’s interests and passions, school performance, and actual problems.
Although a parental control app doesn’t make a better parent by default, it allows you to reveal your drawbacks in raising a kid and fix them in time.