Custody decrees in Alabama have been required, since 2013, to be worded in a way that aligns with the state’s Parent-Child Relationship Protection Act. You might know it simply as the “relocation act”. It was put into place to help promote the idea that children benefit from both parents even when those parents are no longer bound together by the ties of matrimony. More specifically, it is an act that was implemented to ensure that parents making the decision to relocate are maintaining their child’s access to both of their parents.
What does the act require?
When you make the decision to move, the aforementioned act requires that you notify the other parties involved in your custody arrangement should you decide to relocate further than 60 miles from their residence. Note that this is true whether you have visiting rights or physical custody of the child in question, and that this distance is specifically from the other party’s current residence, not your own. Additionally, should the move be less than 60 miles but would cross state lines, you must also send this notice. Notice must be sent at least 45 days before the move. If you don’t know you’re moving 45 days before the actual moving day, you must send notice no later than ten days after you become aware of your move. This must be sent via certified mail.
In addition to the above, it’s important to remember that the notice must be comprised of certain information. While exceptions exist if you are living and moving under Military orders, this information generally includes the following:
• Information about the new residence.
• The specific street address of the new residence (if it is known).
• The specific mailing address of the new residence.
• The telephone number(s) of the new residence.
• The address, phone number, and name of the new school in which the child will be enrolled.
• The date of the move.
• Specific reasons why the move is happening if it involves changing the principal residence of your child.
• A proposal to revise the scheduled visitation or custody with the child.
• Warning that the non-relocating party has 30 days from the receipt of the notice to object to the move, otherwise it will be a permitted move.
If the party that is not relocating objects to the move, then a hearing to determine whether the move is the best option for the child will be held. If the move is approved at the hearing, the court orders will include language that ensures the non-relocating party and the child have contact and telephone access. Transportation cost concerns will also be considered at this court hearing. If no objection is filed within 30 days from the date the non-relocating party received the notice, then the move is considered to be authorized.
All parties involved must abide by the act. Failure to do so, whether that means giving notice of a move or objecting to a move, could very well result in a loss of custodial parenting time. The court does not tend to take willful violation of this act kindly.
For more information, please contact George C. Starkey and Associates at 205.581.9790.