Legal Information: Alabama


June 12, 2018

What are the steps for filing for custody?

It depends on the details of your situation. To find out what the process will be like for you, please consult a lawyer in your area. Please visit our AL Finding a Lawyer page to find legal help in your area.

Generally, if the parents are married and are going through a divorce, one or both of the parents usually files for custody as part of a divorce action.

If the parents are already divorced, a petition for a change in custody can be filed in the county where the divorce was issued.

If the parents were never married, either parent can file for custody in the county in which the child has been living for at least six months.

In all cases, you will have to:

  • draft or have someone draft a petition letting the court and the other party know what you want and why;
  • turn your paperwork into court; and
  • pay a filing fee (or obtain a waiver based on your inability to pay it).

Once you file your paperwork, you may have a hearing in front of a judge, or there may be other preliminary steps you must take. To find out more about how the process works in your area, please contact a lawyer.  AL Finding a Lawyer.