If a custody order is already in place, how can I get it changed?
Generally, the judge will not change a custody order unless there has been a substantial change in circumstances from when the original custody decision was made. In Alabama, if a judge finds that domestic or family violence has occurred since the last custody decision, that may be considered to be a substantial change in circumstances.1
To modify a custody order, you will usually need to go to the court that issued the order, even if you have moved to file a request to change a custody or visitation order. If you move to a new county, you may be able to move your case to the new county if the other parent and your children have moved to that new county, too. Even if the non-custodial parent has not moved to a new county, but you (the custodial parent) and your child have lived in another county for more than three years, you have a right to have future custody decisions made by a court in your new home county.2
If you have moved to a new state or if both parents and the child have moved away from the original state, you can ask the court to change the jurisdiction to the new state that you and your child are in. See our Changing a final custody order page for more information. This is often complicated, and as with all custody issues, we recommend that you talk to a lawyer about this. Go to the AL Finding a Lawyer page to find legal help in your area.
1 Alabama Code § 30-3-134
2 Alabama Code § 30-3-5