Every Alabama county has a juvenile court. Alabama juvenile court cases and records are confidential and not open to the public. There are no jury trials in juvenile court, and the cases are heard only by a judge, en banc.
Cases involving children heard before the juvenile court include allegations that a child is dependent, delinquent, or children in need of supervision (“CHINS”).
In Alabama, a dependent child is a child who is orphaned, neglected, or abused and in need of care.
In Alabama, a delinquent child is a child under the age of 18 who has committed an offense which would be considered a crime if they were a 19 year old adult.
In Alabama, a Child in Need of Supervision (CHINS) is one who has committed an act that indicates that the child is in need of care or rehabilitation. Examples of children in need of supervision are those who run-away from home, disobedient to parents, or who continually miss school.
Decisions involving child custody are among the most emotional issues in family law cases. Child custody involves deciding who will have legal custody and physical custody of your children. Legal custody determines who will make important decisions on your child’s behalf. These decisions include education, religion, and medical care. Physical custody is where your children will reside. If one parent has sole physical custody, then the other parent will most likely have visitation rights.
The law prefers that both parents maintain a relationship with their children. Family law courts in Alabama tend to award joint custody in cases that when possible.
In Alabama, separate from an agreement between the parties, child support is calculated by a preexisting formula using the parents individual income in accordance with their total income. The resulting figure determines a monthly child support figure.
The court has the discretion to deviate from the parents child support figure. Deviations are handled on a case-by-case basis.