Laws for Divorced Parents With Children in Alabama

By Wayne Thomas

Creating parenting arrangements that support the welfare of minor children is an important part of the divorce process in Alabama. By law, judges must make custody decisions based on the child's best interest, which can impact the type of custody awarded and the ability of a parent to change a child's residence.

Creating parenting arrangements that support the welfare of minor children is an important part of the divorce process in Alabama. By law, judges must make custody decisions based on the child's best interest, which can impact the type of custody awarded and the ability of a parent to change a child's residence.

Jurisdiction

Alabama has enacted laws dealing with jurisdictional issues related to child custody that adhere to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which it has adopted. The state restricts the location where parents can request an initial custody order and obtain modifications to existing orders. Under the UCCJEA, Alabama may rule on an initial custody request only if the child either currently resides in the state or did so for the previous six months and one parent continues to live in the state. Once an initial order has been issued, Alabama retains jurisdiction and the order may only be modified in another state if an Alabama court either declines jurisdiction or it has been established that neither parent nor child continues to live in the state. This procedure is designed to prevent conflicting custody orders from different states and discourage parents from choosing a court simply to get a favorable ruling, known as forum shopping.

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Types of Custody Arrangements

Alabama recognizes two types of custody, legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the ability to make important decisions regarding the welfare of the child, such as education, religious affiliation and medical treatment. Physical custody refers to where the child sleeps. Alabama law prefers that physical custody be shared by both parents, but not necessarily equally. In making all custody determinations, the best interest of the child is the overriding concern of the state and judges must consider several factors, including the age of the child, home environment of both parents, ability of each parent to meet the child's specific needs, and the relationship of each parent to both the child and each other.

Parental Access

If a court in Alabama decides that awarding sole custody to one parent is in the child's best interest, the other parent is typically granted visitation rights, known as access in Alabama. In cases of domestic violence, a judge may still grant supervised access if steps can be taken to ensure the safety of the child and other parent. Once an access order is in place, the custodial parent must comply with its terms. If denied access, a non-custodial parent may request the court hold the other parent in contempt.

Parent Relocation

Alabama has specific laws regarding when a parent can move with a child after divorce. First, the custodial parent must provide at least 45 days notice to the court and the other parent regarding her plans to move. If the other parent objects, the relocating parent must convince the court that the move is in the child's best interest. By law, there is a presumption that a move does not benefit the child, so the moving parent must provide sufficient evidence to overcome this presumption. The court will look at several factors, including the distance of the move and its effect on the relationship between the child and non-relocating parent, as well as whether the move will benefit the specific needs of the child, such as education or access to quality health care.

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How to Divorce in California & Leave the State With Children

References

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Florida Child Custody Guidelines

Custody arrangements are called "time-sharing plans" in Florida. When parents divorce or separate, they will need to decide on a time-sharing plan. If they are unable to do so, a Florida court will issue an order setting forth each parent's rights to spend time with the child, based on what is best for the child.

Pennsylvania State Regulations About Proximity of Parents to Children in Divorce

Child custody and divorce cases can be highly contentious for both parties. Some parents wish to move away to avoid the stress of contact with the other parent. And, in some cases, the parent may want to move to limit the parent's contact with the child. This can be damaging to the child, and Pennsylvania custody decisions are made according to the child's best interests. Consequently, parents who wish to relocate must follow a specific procedure, and the court will not always permit relocation of the child.

How Long Do You Have to Wait Before You Can Remarry After Your Divorce in Alabama?

The state of Alabama mandates a waiting period after a divorce before you may marry again inside the state. Alabama generally lacks jurisdiction, however, to enforce marriage laws outside its boundaries. The state's waiting period is 60 days, barring a court order to the contrary. There are, however, exceptional circumstances where the waiting period may be eliminated or extended.

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