Alabama Visitation and Older Children
Alabama courts are called to act in the best interests of children when it comes to divorce, custody and visitation. There are many different factors that are considered in determining what is best. Once a child reaches the age of 12 or 13, courts typically begin take seriously the preferences of that child in making decisions regarding custody and visitation.
When does the court intervene?
It is not at all uncommon for children and parents to want to make changes to custody or visitation arrangements. While deciding what is best for the child is the foremost concern, the rights of the parents, as established through the court orders, must still be considered. In many cases, when changes need to be made to visitation, the court will require the parents to try mediation. If that doesn’t work, then the court will get involved.
Considering the older child’s preference
One common issue that arises in determining the weight that should be given to a child’s preference is what that preference is based on. In other words, does the child want a change for legitimate reasons? In some cases, a guardian ad litem may need to get involved to help facilitate changes in visitation, or to help determine the child’s true wishes.
What is a parent’s duty with regard to visitation?
Many parents don’t realize they have a duty to ensure that their child abides by the custody and visitation arrangements established by the court. With older children that can sometimes be an issue. Parents have an obligation to be sure their child goes to scheduled visitation. If not, the court can take steps to ensure compliance with the visitation order, which sometimes includes parenting classes. There is no question that parenting can be difficult at times and divorce certainly does not help with that situation. Nevertheless, parents must strive to comply with the terms of custody and visitation.
If you have questions regarding visitation or any other family law matters, please contact The Law Office of Brad J. Latta either online or by calling (205) 739-2422.