Child Custody and Move Away Cases in Alabama

If you are divorced with children or otherwise subject to a child custody order, your ability to move away and relocate out of state with your children may be limited. Alabama’s relocation statute requires each parent (or legal custodian) that has custody or right to visitation with a child to notify the other parent (or custodian) before moving to a different state or location more than 60 miles from the other parent’s address. This notice has to be in writing, issued by certified mail and given at least 45 days before the move or within 10 days have learning of the move if later. The notice must include the following information:

  • The intended new residence, including the specific street address, if known;
  • The mailing address, if not the same as the street address;
  • The telephone number or numbers at such residence, if known;
  • If applicable, the name, address and telephone number of the school to be attended by the child, if known;
  • The date of the intended change of principal residence of a child;
  • A statement of the specific reasons for the proposed change of principal residence of the child; and
  • A proposal for a revised schedule of custody of or visitation with a child, if any.

The notice must also give the non-relocating parent warning that an objection to the relocation must be made within 30 days of receipt of the notice or the relocation will be permitted. If the non-relocating parent formally objects to the relocation, the court may delay the move until a hearing is held on the issue. At the hearing, the court will evaluate the proposed move and whether the move is in the best interest of the child. The court will apply factors such as the age and maturity of the child, the schools the child will attend, special health needs, job opportunities for the parent seeking to move, and proposed changes to the visitation schedule. Unless there has been a finding of domestic violence or child abuse, Alabama’s relocation statute creates a rebuttable presumption that the move is NOT in the best interest of the child.

As one can see, Alabama’s relocation statute puts strict restrictions on a custodial parent’s ability to move out-of-state or even 60 miles away. However, proper compliance with the statute’s requirements is imperative. If the relocating parent fails to comply with the statute’s provisions; a court may find reason to change custody, make the non-complying party pay for the increased visitation costs and can even reduce child support obligations. If you have been divorced or have been involved in a child custody proceeding and are hoping to move away, contact The Yeatts Law Firm today. We are experienced in handling move away cases and can assist you.