Sometimes circumstances change after the judge makes the original custody decision. For a judge to make any custodial changes, there has to be substantial change. Substantial changes of the custodial parent can be that they are unfit and the child is in danger. Dangers include the custodial parent abuses drugs or alcohol, abusive, neglectful, or they are mentally ill. Call our Tuscaloosa Custody Lawyers today for a quick phone consultation.
In some circumstances, the non-custodial parent can file a petition to modify custody. This petition should include all allegations and reasons for the change of custody. The parent must then prove why they are the better custodian for the child while also proving that custody change would not cause any disruptions in the child’s life. Any custodial change will likely require a hearing and our local custody attorney can represent you at this hearing and argue your case.
The child custody lawyer files a petition to change custody. Soon after, the parent with primary custody is notified and served. Once served, they have thirty days to respond. During the hearing, both sides present evidence and witnesses to explain the changes. After that, the judge will ultimately decide whether to change custody or not.
Our family law attorney can do an Amended Settlement Agreement. Where both parents agree on the change and skip a hearing. Costing a low flat fee (plus filing fee) to complete the paperwork. However, for parents not in agreement, it can be more expensive.
The starting retainer fee for our Tuscaloosa County child custody lawyer to file a contested custody petition for you is about $2500 which could be more depending on your circumstances. The attorney uses the retainer fee to cover the filing of the petition in the court. Any work performed on the case at an hourly rate, will be covered under this fee. Give us a call for a free phone consultation with a child custody lawyer in Tuscaloosa County to find out more about custody petitions.
Child Custody Attorneys in Tuscaloosa
The “best interest of the child” is used during the initial custody determination. Judges are hesitant to change custody. Mostly due to disruption to the child. Judges are more strict during the petition custody hearings. Tuscaloosa County Courts follow the strict McLendon standard. During the petition hearing, the parent seeking custody must show the following:
That there was a material change in circumstances that has occurred since the previous Order regarding custody.
That the change in custody would be in the best interest of the child materially.
That the disruptive effects resulting from this change in custody are outweighed by the benefits of the custody change.
Alabama courts usually favor the rights of the child’s parents over all others, including grandparents. The judge may consider any evidence deemed relevant to the case. Several factors are taken into consideration when there is a petition to change custody. These include:
health and needs of the child
age, mental, and financial stability of parties
interpersonal relationship between child and parents
interference by a parent with the other parent’s relationship with the child
the wishes of the child
Your Tuscaloosa custody lawyer should list all the allegations and reasons for a change in custody in the custody petition. All petitions must be filed in the county where the original custody case was decided. Our custody & child support attorneys can help you modify custody if your prior decree was in Tuscaloosa, Northport, Cottondale, or the surrounding areas of Tuscaloosa County. If married, you can file a divorce case and take up the custody issue in your Tuscaloosa County divorce. If you are not married to the other parent, then a petition for custody can still be filed in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.