In Mobile County, all child custody and visitation cases where the parents have never been married to each other are heard in Juvenile Court by a District Court Judge. For many years, this judge was the Hon. George Brown. Effective January 2023, Judge Brown has retired and his replacement is the Hon. Linda Jensen.
Judge Jensen has issued an updated standard visitation schedule, which represents a significant expansion of visitation from the former schedule that has been in place for the past decade or longer. If you are a never-married parent with a custody and visitation issue with your child and you have never been to court, this will affect the outcome of your case. If you have been to court before and have a court order already, it may be time for you to consider a modification. For more information, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Here is Judge Jensen’s standard visitation schedule:
Standard in-town visitation
Weekday: alternate Thursdays following the weekend when the non-custodial parent exercises visitation from the time the child(ren) gets out of school on Thursday until Friday when the child(ren) is scheduled to return to school. In the event the child(ren) does not have school during the weekday visit, then it shall begin at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday and end at 8:00 a.m. on Friday.
Weekend: alternate weekends from Thursday at 6:00 p.m. until Sunday at 6:00 p.m.
(The Court does note that specific holiday visitation set out below takes priority over the alternate weekend visitations; so, when there is a conflict between an alternate weekend visitation and the specific holiday award, whoever is awarded the specific holiday can have the child(ren) during the holiday time and the alternate weekend time does not have to be made up later.)
Thanksgiving: alternate Thanksgivings with the minor child(ren) beginning with Thanksgiving in odd-numbered years. (The primary custodial parent shall have alternate Thanksgivings with the minor child beginning with Thanksgiving in even-number years.) The time shall be from 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday until the following Sunday at 6:00 p.m.
Spring Break: Spring Break holiday in even-numbered years. (The parent with primary physical custody shall have Spring Break in odd-numbered years.) The time shall be from Friday at the start of the Spring Break week at 6:00 p.m. until the Sunday after Spring Break week at noon.
Summer: The last two weeks (14 days) of June and the last two weeks (14 days) of July. (The custodial parent shall have the first two weeks of June and the first two weeks of July as custodial periods, uninterrupted by the normal mid-week visit).
Christmas: In even numbered years, from 9:00 a.m. on December 18th until 6:00 p.m. on December 25th, and in odd numbered years, from 6:00 p.m. on December 25th until 6:00 p.m. on the following January 2nd. The parent with primary physical custody shall have the opposite.
Other: In addition, the child shall be with the mother on Mother’s Day weekend and with the father for Father’s Day weekend, from Friday at 6:00 p.m. until Sunday at 6:00 p.m.
This is the minimum and not the maximum visitation. The parties are encouraged to expand the visitation to fit the best interests of the child(ren). Visitation is further allowed as otherwise agreed by the parties.