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Legal Statutes: Alabama

UPDATED July 28, 2016

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Chapter 5. Protection from Abuse.

back to topSection 30-5-5. Petitions, motions, etc. - Filing, forms, contents, costs.

(a) The following persons have standing to file a sworn petition for a protection order under this chapter as a plaintiff:

(1) A person who is at least 18 years old or is otherwise emancipated and is the victim of abuse, as defined in Section 30-5-2, or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of abuse.

(2) A parent, legal guardian, next friend, or the State Department of Human Resources may petition for relief on behalf of the following:

a. A minor child.

b. Any person prevented by physical or mental incapacity from seeking a protection order.

(b) Standardized petitions for actions pursuant to this chapter shall be made available through the circuit clerks' offices around the state. The circuit clerk shall not be required to provide assistance to persons in completing the forms or in presenting their case to the court.

(c) A sworn petition shall allege the incidents of abuse, the specific facts and circumstances that form the basis upon which relief is sought, and that the plaintiff genuinely fears subsequent acts of abuse by the defendant. With respect to a minor child who is living at home, the parent, legal guardian, or next friend seeking the protective order on behalf of the child shall:

(1) Have been an eyewitness to, or have direct evidence or affidavits from eyewitnesses of, the specific facts and circumstances that form the basis upon which relief is sought, if the party against whom the protection order is sought is also a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of the minor child; or

(2) Have a reasonable cause to believe that the minor child is a victim of abuse to form the basis upon which relief is sought, if the party against whom the protection order is sought is a person other than a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of a minor child.

(d) The court shall not enter mutual orders. The court shall issue separate orders that specifically and independently state the prohibited behavior and relief granted in order to protect the victim and the victim's immediate family and to clearly provide law enforcement with sufficient directives.

(e) Any plaintiff who files a petition under this chapter may do so through an attorney or may represent himself or herself pro se throughout the legal process outlined in this chapter, including, but not limited to, the filing of pleadings, motions, and any other legal documents with any court, and the appearance in ex parte and formal court proceedings on his or her behalf.

(f)(1) The following information shall not be contained on any court document made available to the public and the defendant by the circuit clerk's office: The plaintiff's home address and, if applicable, business address; a plaintiff's home telephone number and, if applicable, business telephone number; the home or business address or telephone number of any member of the plaintiff's family or household; or an address that would reveal the confidential location of a shelter for victims of domestic violence as defined in Section 30-6-1.

(2) If disclosure of the plaintiff's address, the address of any member of the plaintiff's family or household, or an address that would reveal the confidential location of a shelter for victims of domestic violence is necessary to determine jurisdiction or to consider a venue issue, it shall be made orally and in camera.

(3) If the plaintiff has not disclosed an address or telephone number under this section, the plaintiff shall satisfy one of the following requirements:

a. Designate and provide to the court an alternative address.

b. Elect to substitute the business address and telephone number of his or her attorney of record in place of the address of the plaintiff on any court document.

(g) No court costs and fees shall be assessed for the filing and service of a petition for a protection order, for the issuance or registration of a protection order, or for the issuance of a witness subpoena under this chapter. Costs and fees may be assessed against the defendant at the discretion of the court.

(Acts 1981, No. 81-476, p. 826, § 5; Acts 1995, No. 95-542, p. 1126, § 1; Act 2003-385, p. 1088, § 1; Act 2010-538, p. 919, § 1; Act 2015-493, § 2.)