Are there exceptions to the home state rule?
There are exceptions to the “home state rule.” For example, it may be possible to file for custody in Alabama even if it is not the child’s home state because:
- the child is present in Alabama and either:
- the child has been abandoned; or
- it is necessary (in an emergency situation) to protect the child because the child, a sibling, or parent of the child, is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse;1 or
- the judge determines that:
- the child and his/her parent have “significant connections” in the state; and
- there is substantial evidence in the state related to the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationship.2
This can be very complicated and there are additional exceptions that could apply. Please talk to a lawyer in Alabama and in the state where your child was previously living to figure out where to file. To find a lawyer or legal aid program in your area, please visit the AL Finding a Lawyer page or you can reach out to the Legal Resources Center for Violence Against Women for information if you are a victim of abuse.
1 Alabama Code § 30-3B-204(a)
2 Alabama Code § 30-3B-201(a)