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Legal Information: Alabama


September 1, 2023

What steps do I take to relocate with my child?

If you want to move your child out of his/her primary home for more than 45 days, this is usually considered to be a “relocation” under the law. To try to relocate, you must first notify anyone else who has custody or visitation rights by sending a letter via certified mail that has detailed information about the move, which is referred to in the law as “proposed change of the child’s principal residence.” The notice must include all of the following, if known:

  1. the new mailing address and street address;
  2. the new home telephone number;
  3. the name, address, and telephone number of the school that your child will attend;
  4. the date of the planned relocation;
  5. a statement of the specific reasons for the proposed move;
  6. a proposal for a revised schedule of custody and visitation; and
  7. a warning to the non-relocating parent that an objection to the relocation must be made within 30 days of receipt of the notice or the relocation will be permitted.1

The letter must be sent at least 45 days before the planned move. However, if it was impossible for you to know about the move 45 days in advance, and it is not reasonably possible for you to delay the move, you must send the notice within 10 days after you know you have to move. However, for victims of domestic violence or in situations where the child’s safety could be in danger, the judge could do away with the notice requirement. Also, the judge can order that the address and phone number of the child and the abused parent not be made public in court.1

Note: Unless the non-relocating parent has been found to have committed domestic violence or child abuse, the judge will assume that moving is not in the best interest of the child. So you will have to prove to the judge that it is in the child’s best interests to move if the non-relocating parent objects.2 For more information on how the non-relocating parent can object to the move, see Can the non-relocating parent object to my plan to relocate my child?

The law about parent and child relocation is very complicated. Violation of this law may give the judge reason to change custody to the other parent. We encourage you to get advice from an attorney before moving with a child. To find a lawyer or legal aid program in your area, please visit our AL Finding a Lawyer page.

1 Alabama Code §§ 30-3-165(a), (b); 30-3-167
2 Alabama Code § 30-3-169.4