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Legal Information: Alabama

Custody

Laws current as of September 1, 2023

Can a parent who committed violence get visitation?

A judge could grant visitation to a parent who committed violence only if the judge believes that proper measures can be taken to ensure the safety of both you and your child. The judge must also take into account the abuser’s history of causing physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or causing reasonable fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault, to another person.1

When creating a visitation order, the judge can include protections, such as:

  • ordering that your address be kept confidential;
  • ordering the child to be picked up and dropped off in a protected place;
  • prohibiting overnight visits;
  • ordering supervised visits;
  • ordering the abuser to pay for supervised visitation;
  • ordering the abuser to pay (post) a bond, which usually means the abuser would have to deposit money with the court that could be used to locate the child if the abusive parent doesn’t return the child;
  • ordering the abuser to attend a batterer’s treatment program; and
  • ordering the abuser to not use alcohol or drugs during the visitation and for 24 hours before the visitation.2

    Also, the law states that if a parent is absent or relocates because of an act of domestic or family violence by the other parent, the absence or relocation is not a factor that the judge can use against the parent in making a decision as to custody or visitation.3

    Note: The judge can refer, but cannot order, an adult who is a victim of family or domestic violence to attend counseling relating to the victim’s status or behavior as a victim, individually or with the abuser. However, even though the judge cannot “order” the victim to attend, the law says that attending this counseling could be a condition of receiving custody or visitation.2

    1 Alabama Code § 30-3-132(a)
    2 Alabama Code § 30-3-135
    3 Alabama Code § 30-3-132(b)