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More thoughts on joint custody, particularly for military parents

In our last post, we looked briefly at Alabama law regarding joint custody and the best interests of the child. As we noted, courts consider various factors to determine whether joint custody is best for the child, and will presume that it is when both parents agree to such an arrangement. Courts may also order joint custody, though, even when parents can’t agree, if it is best for the child.

Because of the way the law is set up, it could be said that there is a preference for joint custody. There is good reason for this: numerous studies show that children generally do better when both parents remain an active presence in their life after divorce. That beings said, joint custody is not always going to be in the best interests of the child, and parents can benefit from strong advocacy to highlight factors in a case which dictate against joint custody. 

Military service is among the factors that courts are likely to consider when determining whether joint custody is in the best interests of the child. Military service, of course, often requires frequent relocation and periodic deployment, and this can impact a child’s schedule, the relationship with the parent, and the continuity of care that child receives.

In some cases, military parents may have a difficult time being awarded custody due to the circumstances of military service, but it really depends on the other parent’s situation and the law of the state in which the child custody case is being handled. For this reason, it is important for military parents to work with an experienced family law attorney to effectively address their concerns and ensure their interests are advocated in the case.

In a future post, we’ll look at an important issue military parents often have to deal with in child custody cases: relocation. 

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