Understanding the Alabama Parent-Child Relationship Protection Act: “The Relocation Act”
The relocation of a custodial parent is complicated issue that happens quite often. When the custodial parent wants to relocate with the parties’ minor child, the court has the right to impose certain restrictions. I often simplify my explanation that one of three things can happen:
- The court will allow the child to relocate with the custodial parent and modify the visitation order accordingly.
- The court will tell the custodial parent that the minor child cannot relocate, and the custodial parent does not relocate either.
- The custodial parent relocates without the child, and custody is modified to award the previous non-custodial parent as the now custodial parent.
In order to relocate, the custodial parent must rebut the presumption that a change of principal residence of a child is not in the best interest of the child. Overall, the court promotes the idea that a child needs both parents. Thus, it is automatically presumed that relocating a child away from the other parent is not in that child’s best interest.
If you are wanting to relocate with the minor child, you must give the other parent the proper notice. By law, you must notify the other parent via certified mail at least 45 days prior to the intended move with all of the factors listed in the Relocation Act. The responding parent must file an objection with the court within 30 days from the date the letter was received. If the responding parent does not file an objection within 30 days, the relocation will be deemed unopposed and the parent will be allowed to relocate with the minor child.
There are several factors that go into the determination of whether or not a relocation should be granted. In my experience, the biggest factors are how far are you wanting to relocate and how is it going affect the other parent’s time with the child. If you are wanting to relocate to a place where a parent will still be able to see their child with the same frequency as the current order allows, then a relocation is likely to be awarded. If you are wanting to relocate to the other side of the world, you would have a much tougher case on your hands.
Because relocation cases can be complex, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney to help you through the process. An experienced family law attorney will help you through the process and will assist in ensuring that you have the best chance at a positive outcome.