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  • Writer's pictureStephen Williams

The Three Branches of Child Custody Government

Here’s a free #ChildCustody civics lesson with citations to Alabama Law (know your sources). We call it “Separation of Powers” or “Checks and Balances.” You might find it helpful when dealing with DHR (executive branch) or the Family Courts (judicial branch), more generally:

Ala.Const. Art. III, § 42

(a) The powers of the government of the State of Alabama are legislative, executive, and judicial.

(b) The government of the State of Alabama shall be divided into three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial.

(c) To the end that the government of the State of Alabama may be a government of laws and not of individuals, and except as expressly directed or permitted in this constitution, the legislative branch may not exercise the executive or judicial power, the executive branch may not exercise the legislative or judicial power, and the judicial branch may not exercise the legislative or executive power.


“The impartiality of the judiciary is a right of the citizens, not a private right of judges.” In the Matter of: Marvin W. Wiggins, Circuit Judge Fourth Judicial Circuit of Alabama, 2009 WL 8707896, at *1.


“[T]he juvenile court shall advise the parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian of the right to counsel and shall appoint counsel if the juvenile court determines he or she is indigent…” Ala. Code § 12-15-308


Bottom line, one of the reasons DHR uses its leverage to get agreements outside of court is to avoid oversight by the judicial branch and absolute right to a lawyer that the Alabama Legislature (legislative branch) has established for you and your family.

DHR has to follow the law just like you do, and our system, when used correctly, is actually set up to hold everyone accountable to the same standards, but if you don’t have a #ChildCustody lawyer then you don’t know what those standards are and what YOU can leverage to hold DHR accountable and navigate the Family Courts effectively (and fairly!)


This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. If you would like to speak more about how you, as a Committed Parent or Caring Relative, can be more effective in your Child Custody case, please visit to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices. ~SW, Foxtrot

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