As a Birmingham divorce lawyer helping clients throughout Alabama, I understand the pain and anguish that people feel following a separation or conclusion of a divorce action. For folks who share children from a marriage that is now falling apart the hurt can go very deep, especially when custody comes into play.
No matter where you live in Alabama, be it Huntsville, Auburn, Madison or Opelika,divorce and separation are not easy. One issue that arises more often than not is that of relocation. It's a sad fact, but in a society as mobile as ours and with an economy that is forcing people to look elsewhere for employment, relocation cases have become commonplace.
Once a divorce is final, it's inevitable to have some tension between the custodial and non-custodial parents. However, this tension can elevate if the custodial parent needs or wants to move away and take the kids with them. In cases like this the non-custodial parents will desperately want to hang on to their relationship with the children, while everyone should consider the best interests of the kids as well.
The question that I get from folks is, Where does the law come down on the issue of relocation or “move away” cases? Naturally, many non-custodial parents want to know if they can prevent their former partner from physically relocating themselves and the kids. Similarly, the custodial parent wonders if he or she actually needs to get “approval” to move from the other, non-custodial parent.
Actually, there is an Alabama statute titled the “Alabama Parent-Child Relationship Protection Act,” part of the Alabama Code, Section 30-3-160. What this part of the law requires is for the custodial parent to submit written notice to the other party, the non-custodial parent, 45 days in advance of any intended move greater than 60 miles from his or her present residence.
The law regarding this required notice is very specific as to what should be included and in what form it should take. For instance, it must be delivered via certified mail. This is why it's always important to consult a qualified family law attorney to be certain that you are following the letter of the law.
Once notice is given, the law gives the non-custodial parent 30 days to file a written objection with the court. If an objection is filed, the court will then set a date to hear the individual parties and make a determination as to whether or not, in the judge's opinion, the move is in the best interests of the children.