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Serving Central Alabama
Photo of attorneys Nicholas A Jones and Alyssa L Hawkins

Can you move away with your child in Alabama post-divorce?

Divorce brings many changes to a family’s life. Each spouse will be living on their own and if there are children, the children will be living with one parent or the other or will be rotating between homes. Parents in Alabama may need to move following a divorce, either immediately or in the future. If so, they need to understand whether they can take their child with them when they move.

What is considered a child’s principal residence?

Upon divorce, the court will determine what the child’s principal residence is. The child’s principal residence is either the child’s primary residence as designated by the court or in the absence of such a decree, the place where the parents had previously decided the child will live. If the child is temporarily absent from their principal residence, this does not change where their permanent residence is. An absence from the permanent residence is a relocation if it removes the child from their principal residence for at least 45 days. If a parent wants to change the child’s permanent residence and the other parent does not agree with that plan, the relocating parent will need to obtain a court order to relocate with the child.

What factors will the court consider in a relocation case?

There are a variety of factors courts will consider when determining whether a change in the child’s principal residence should be allowed. The court will consider each parent’s relationship with the child as well as the relationship the child has with siblings and other significant people in their life. The child’s age and needs will be considered along with the changes the relocation will have on the child’s development and whether the child will be uprooted.

The increase in travel time the non-relocating parent will undergo in exercising their parenting time will be considered, as will the availability and cost of alternative means of communication between the child and non-relocating parent. Whether it is feasible for the non-relocating parent to preserve their relationship with the child will be considered, as will the child’s preferences keeping in mind the child’s age and maturity.

The relocating parent’s motivation for the move will be considered, as will the non-relocating parent’s likelihood of compliance with a new visitation arrangement. Whether the move will enhance the child and custodial parent’s quality of life will be considered. There are other factors that may be considered as well.

Learn more about child custody in Alabama

Ultimately this post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Determining whether you can relocate with your child can affect your life, your child’s life and your ex’s life for years to come. Our firm’s webpage on child custody may be a useful resource for those who want to learn more about this topic.


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