Legal Information: Alabama

Custody

Updated: 
June 12, 2018

In which state do I file for custody?

You can usually only file for custody in Alabama if Alabama is your child’s “home state.”   However, there are exceptions to the “home state” rule, which are explained in the next section, Are there exceptions to the home state rule?

Alabama usually qualifies as your child’s “home state” if:

  • Your child lives in Alabama, and has lived there for at least 6 months in a row before you file for custody,
  • Alabama is the last state where your child lived for at least 6 months in a row before you file for custody, or
  • your child is less than six months old but has lived in Alabama since birth.

Leaving Alabama for a short period of time, such as going on vacation, usually does not change its status as a child’s home state.

If your child recently moved from Alabama to another state, generally you cannot file for custody in that new state until your child has lived there for at least 6 months. Until then, you or the other parent can start a custody action in Alabama, as long as your child has most recently lived there for at least 6 months. There are some exceptions.  Please see Are there exceptions to the home state rule? for more information.

If you and your child recently moved to Alabama from another state, generally you cannot file for custody in Alabama until you have lived there for at least six months. Until then, you or the other parent can start a custody action in the state you moved from, as long as your child has most recently lived there for at least six months. There are some exceptions.  See Are there exceptions to the home state rule?

1 Alabama Code § 30-3B, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.