If You’re the Custodial Parent, Are You Allowed to Relocate Under Alabama Law?

Many things in your and your children’s lives will change when you divorce. Because we now live in an increasingly mobile society, you or your ex-spouse may move to a different town or even state; if you’re the custodial parent, how are you and your child affected? Even a relatively simple move, let’s say for a job promotion, can become a complex and argumentative custody issue.

Suppose you are the custodial parent. And have primary physical custody of your child; under Alabama law, you have the right to relocate with your child, even if it is out of state. However, this right isn’t absolute, and the Alabama court may prevent your move to protect the child’s rights.

During and after your divorce is finalized, relocation issues are always highly emotional and exceptionally legally complex, so the skilled, detailed, and knowledgeable advice of a Birmingham child custody lawyer will prove invaluable to the success of your case.

The process and the judicial proceedings can be overwhelming in relocation and custody cases, but both must adhere to strict regulations.

First, Alabama law requires you, as the custodial parent, to legally provide notice of any change of address in your and your child’s residence to be presented to your ex-spouse at least 45 days before your move. Moving to a nearby town or new home may be standard for you, but your ex-spouse can legally object to this relocation if the move is more than 60 miles away.

Once your ex-spouse receives notice of your plan to move, they have 30 days to file an objection with the court.

The judge will then schedule a hearing, and you and your ex must attend. Since move-away custody or relocation cases are always highly complex, obtaining the professional council of an experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate relocation and custody lawyer is always advisable to represent you and your child.

The judge will hear both sides of the case during the hearing, but the court’s primary concern is doing what’s in the child’s best interest. Therefore, the proper, legal, and clearly stated reasons for your case are paramount to your success. This is one of the main reasons the help of a legal professional is mandatory.

What Things May the Court Consider in a Move-Away Case?

What you must know is that In Alabama, if a divorced parent wants to move, this may reopen the question of who should get custody. If you’re objecting to the move, you must prove that moving would be detrimental to your child and that relocation (even with the custodial parent) would be inappropriate or worse.

In Alabama, and almost all states, it’s always what’s in your child’s best interests that’s central to any custody decision. For example, if you plan to move out of state, a court will consider numerous factors that affect a child’s well-being, some of these may include:

  • The relationship and involvement with both parents and possibly siblings.
  • The emotional and physical needs of the child.
  • The impact that the move would have on the child’s psychological and educational development.
  • What does the child want if they are of sufficient age and maturity?
  • The stability of each parent.
  • And there are many more specific factors that the court may deem relevant.

Each of these cases differs in circumstance, finances, stability, and many more factors, so you must discuss this possibly dire and significant situation and all its pertinent details with your Birmingham child custody lawyer as soon as possible and before you address the Alabama court.

What Is Alabama’s Child Relocation Act, and How Can It Affect My Case?

In 2013, Alabama passed the Parent-Child Relationship Protection Act (aka the “Relocation Act”) into law, and all custody considerations and orders must comply with its varied provisions.

This Relocation Act was entirely based on the assumption that all children benefit when both parents continue to be an ongoing and relevant part of their lives, even if they are divorced. Therefore, the Alabama Relocation Act strictly limits parents’ ability to relocate in a manner that would deprive their children of the ability to maintain an ongoing relationship with both parents.

That said, the Relocation Act legally requires that if you are the custodial parent and must (or wish to) move more than 60 miles from the other parent’s home, they have to provide proper notice of relocation to the other parent in a specific period (depending on their situation) so the other parent can acknowledge the move and respond.

The notice of moving must include all the varied details about your move, such as details on their new home, the new address, phone number, where the child will be attending school, address of the school, valid reasons for the move, and possibly much more.

Based on your and your lawyer’s proposal, the notice may include a revised custody and visitation arrangement and allow the other parent 30 days to respond or object to the relocation.

It must be emphasized that any relocation arrangement could open a Pandora’s box of objections and issues with custody, financial arrangements, and more. Therefore, discussing this situation with your skilled, knowledgeable, empathetic, and detail-oriented child custody lawyer is mandatory.

What If My Ex-Spouse Does Object To My Proposed Move?

As you may surmise, this does happen, especially if your notice of intent to relocate is not detailed enough and done correctly. If your ex-spouse doesn’t consent to your moving proposal, they (and their lawyer) will file an objection with the Alabama court.

The judge will schedule a hearing on the objections, but you must remember that the Alabama court’s primary consideration is your child’s best interests.

They will, in detail, consider what type of custody or visitation is the most feasible and consider things like the distance involved, cost of transportation, the child’s age, etc.

The courts use myriad factors in making these decisions. Let’s say your child is in high school; then, they are probably less likely to be adversely affected by a move than if your child was young.

In general, the Alabama court usually presumes that any move is not in the best interests of a young child. If your child is young, you must be prepared to defend why the move is necessary, as the court will put all the burden on you to demonstrate why the move is in their best interests, you, and especially your child.

This is one of the most critical reasons that if you plan to convince the court to allow your move successfully, you must have professional legal help and diligent guidance to validate and prove your case.

I Am Divorced and Planning to Relocate; How Should I Proceed?

You must be aware that all relocation cases are multi-faceted and highly emotional and legally must comply with strict Alabama laws. There are a great many things at stake if you or your ex-spouse is even considering a move.

The Rose Law Firm LLC child custody lawyers have one of the only specialists in Alabama, and they are ready to help with these challenging move-away cases. They are known state-wide and will always advise you in the best, most professional, and empathetic manner possible.

Call them today at (205) 858-9224 for a free consultation on your unique case, and they will always give you the time and effort your case deserves. Too much is on the line to settle for anyone else.