In many divorce settlement agreements involving children, there is a reference within the custody agreement to the Alabama Relocation Act. This Act describes how parents are to treat custody decisions and the steps that parents must take if one parent is moving a long distance from the other. When child custody issues involve a parent who lives a great distance between from the other parent, one of the best ways to respond to a custody issue is to understand the various issues involving the Alabama Relocation Act.
When one parent desires to move sixty miles or more from another parent, the parent who is moving must provide notice to the other parent within forty-five days of the move or ten days after learning of the move if later. This notice of relocation should include some information about the parent who is moving including a phone number, the new physical address, the name and address of the child’s new school, the date of the intended move, the reason or reasons for the move, a proposed schedule for revised child custody or visitation, and a warning that the non-relocating parent must object to the relocation within thirty days.
Once provided with notice of relocation, a party has thirty days to object or the move will often be permitted. If a parent objects, the court may order that the move cannot take place until a hearing occurs where a judge will determine whether the relocation is in the best interest of all involved children. The best interest of a child standard is influenced by a variety of factors including the age of the child and the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent. The court is often likely to find that a child who is in high school or junior high school might be less disrupted by a move than a younger child.
Courts in Alabama have a presumption that a move is not in the best interest of a younger child because such a move will disrupt the stability of a younger child. If the relocating parent can demonstrate that the move in question would be in the best interest of a child, the non-relocating parent then has the burden of demonstrating why the child should remain rather than forced to relocate.
In the context of relocation, there are some particular factors that influence the best interests of a child. A court will analyze how the relocation will affect the stability of the child’s relationship, the distance of the move in question, if the motive for the move is justifiable or done in bad faith in a way that interferes with the relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent, the ability of parents to communicate with each other, where the child desires to relocate, and the relationship that the child has with each parent.
If you are involved in a divorce that includes the potential relocation of a child, consider contacting a talented Birmingham divorce attorney who knows how to make sure that a client reaches the best potential results. Contact Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC at (205) 255-1155.
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