Articles Posted in Children

News and sports television, radio, and other media have been buzzing in recent days about what seems like an epidemic of domestic violence that is suddenly coming to the public’s attention. This is largely due to several high-profile professional athletes being accused of abuse of their spouses or children. We have even seen repercussions of this locally as a prominent member of Montgomery, Alabama’s legal community has recently been arrested and charged with an incident of domestic violence; as of this writing, calls for his resignation from his position are increasing.

What does Alabama’s law say about what constitutes “domestic violence” and what can result from a conviction for this offense?

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Often, divorced parents become dissatisfied with custody arrangements that are put in place by their divorce court years after the order was entered. Whether one parent feels that the other parent is not keeping up their end of parental responsibility, or a parent who does not currently have any physical custodial rights now wants them, there are many reasons that a parent may be interested in having a custody order modified. Depending on what the specific circumstances are, however, the approach may differ from case to case.

In 1984, the Alabama Supreme Court established a rule, called the McLendon standard, by which petitions for custody modifications should be reviewed; if the original order was not one for joint custody, and the noncustodial parent seeks to modify the order, then that parent must establish that the positive good brought about by the modification must more than offset the inherently disruptive effect caused by uprooting the child. In addition, that parent seeking the change must show not only that he or she is a fit parent, but also that the change of custody materially promotes the child’s best interest and welfare.

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