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Alabama Child Custody And Relocation Laws


One of the most challenging issues people must go through when getting a divorce in Alabama is navigating child custody and relocation laws. Parents struggle with figuring out life after divorce and how to move and travel freely while mitigating the risk of infringing on the other parent’s rights and keeping with the custody agreement.

Child custody agreements are challenging enough even when both parties live within a reasonable distance of each other. However, it can become dramatically more complicated when one person wants to relocate.

Parents who have gone through a divorce in Alabama have to figure out a visitation arrangement and custody of their children. Suppose you were granted visitation rights but not primary custody. In that case, this article will provide an understanding of your rights as a parent should the parent with primary custody decide they want or need to move out of state.

Can The Custodial Parent of Your Child Move Out of State?

The answer to this depends on the reason, what is in the child’s best interest, and if the relocation would impact your visitation rights if you have them.

What is Considered Relocation in Alabama?

In Alabama, if the custodial parent wishes to relocate, they can do so if it is within 60 miles of the nonmoving parent. The custodial parent needs to provide the noncustodial parent with a minimum notice of 45 days before moving the child’s residence. Should the nonmoving parent disagree, they can object to the relocation.

The notice of relocation must include information required by statute, including but not limited to the following information:

  • The relocation and mailing address of the child
  • Phone number
  • The new school that the child will attend
  • The reason for relocation
  • The date of the relocation
  • Modification to an existing visitation agreement

If you are considering relocation with your child or your ex-spouse has primary custodial custody of your child and is planning to relocate out of state, hiring a qualified family attorney is crucial to help navigate the complexities of relocation, fight for your parental rights, and establish a new child custody agreement.

How Does Relocation Proceedings Work?

When the custodial parent gives you notice that they want to relocate, you have 30 days to file an objection with the court. The judge will require both parents to attend a court hearing. Usually, child custody and relocation cases are complex and emotionally challenging. It is best if both parties have an experienced family attorney present to help navigate the court proceedings and family dynamics. Having an attorney who can help you prepare for your hearing and represent you in court is significantly beneficial, helping to reduce stress and protect your parental rights.

Often during a relocation request, the question of who should have custody is reopened. If there has been a previous custody determination, it is presumed that it’s best for the child to remain where they are.

Essential Factors That the Court Considers in Child Custody and Relocation Cases

Your child’s best interest is always at the forefront of any custody decision. When a parent seeks to relocate with a child, the court will consider seventeen separate factors that could affect the child’s well-being.

The following are some of the factors the court will consider:

  • The child’s relationship with both parents and siblings
  • The child’s needs
  • Positive or negative impact on the child’s emotional and educational development
  • Travel time necessary for your child to visit with both parents
  • Depending on the age of the child, their preference may be considered
  • What other types of communication are available for the child and noncustodial parent to stay in touch
  • Both parent’s stability, financial, emotional, and mental health
  • Any history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Any history of child abuse or domestic violence
  • If the proposed relocation is to another country that may fail to protect and enforce current visitation rights

Relocation and child custody cases are complex and emotional, and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. For example, the primary caregiver may want to move for a better job and be closer to family. The judge may approve the relocation unless there are other factors that may show it’s not best for the child.. A family law attorney with extensive experience navigating these complex cases will substantially improve your chances of a favorable outcome.

Brackin Law Firm In Baldwin County Is Here To Represent You

At Brackin Law Firm, we provide expert legal representation and comprehensive care unique to your circumstances. We have over 40 years of experience finding solutions and resolving conflict peacefully through negotiation and mediation. If your case goes to court, we will fight for your rights and family.

Whether you are going through a divorce or relocating, need a criminal lawyer, or need help with estate planning or other legal issues, we are here to help you. Contact us for a consultation, and we will start representing you today!

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