In Alabama there is no presumption in favor of either party as to Custody of the children. The primary custodian ( party who has over the life of the child taken care of the child)  generally has an edge in custody litigation.  Although the courts are supposed to favor joint custody, each judge will have an individual preference.  Disagreement over custody is almost guaranteed to put you right in the middle of a bitterly contested and expensive divorce.  Custody cases are the most destructive litigation.  Be sure that the children would be significantly better off with you than the other parent before you get involved in a custody fight.  Custody cases are expensive in both emotional cost and in legal cost.  The damage caused by winning a custody case is great; the damage caused by losing is terrifying.

Joint custody will usually be approved by the court if the parties do so by agreement and there is a “primary custodian.”  The primary custodian is the one the child primarily lives with and has final decisions on issues such as school, medical care, and other issues.  By agreement one parent can be responsible for some areas and the other parent can be responsible for other areas.  Joint custody is more rarely awarded in contested cases.

The legal standard in deciding who will get custody in a Divorce Case  is what is in the best interest of the children.  Every judge sees it differently. Custody cases are difficult for everyone involved, however over the years we have been proud to see children who have grown up in the care and custody of a fit and proper parent knowing that had the child stayed with the unfit parent,  the child would have grown up to be a very different adult.