Alabama Relocation – When To Give Notice

Alabama has succumbed more than any other to the Father’s Rights power complex, and it has the most restrictive relocation statute in the nation. How does its notice provision work? Let’s take a look. Today we’ll explore when to give the notice. Tomorrow we’ll think through who must give the notice and how to respond to it.

Ala. Code §30-3-165 requires the person giving the notice to provide it

not later than the 45th day before the date of the intended change of the principal residence of a child or the 10th day after the date such information required to be furnished by [the atatute] becomes known, if the person did not know and could not reasonably have known the information in sufficient time to comply with the 45-day notice, and it is not reasonably possible to extend the time for change of principal residence of the child.

So if the parent knows of the move at least 45 days in advance (and most of us do), he or she must give the notice at least 45 days before the move. Only if the parent learns of the move less than 45 days in advance does the other language have any relevance. So let’s say the parent learns of the move 20 days before it is to happen. The first question is whether it’s reasonably possible to extend the time the child moves. In many cases it will be. Only if it If it is not reasonably possible to extend the time for the child’s move is the notifying parent authorized to provide the notice less than 45 days in advance of the child’s move. Even then, the notice must occur within 10 days after learning about the move.

What if the parent wants to give the notice much sooner, so all litigation is finished before the parent must move? The statute seems to permit this. Note that the statute says the notice must be “not later than the 45th day” before the move. There’s no limitation on how early it can occur. So if the CP notifies the NCP of a move a year in advance with all the required information (new address and phone number, suggestions for revision of schedule, and a warning about the notice means – full list at Ala. Code §30-3-165(b)), and if the NCP makes no objection within 30 days, the CP can plan the move secure in the knowledge that it complies with the relocation statute.

What if the CP knows a move is to occur a year in advance but doesn’t yet know all the required information? Can he or she give the notice before all the information is known? The statute clearly authorizes and even encourages this. Before listing the required information, Ala Code §30-3-165(b) says that all the information must be included if available. When a parent must omit information because it’s not available, §30-3-165(d) imposes on that parent a continuing duty to update the other parent within 10 days after the information becomes known and by certified mail. So the more information is missing from the original notice, the more follow-up notices the parent will be sending.

Of course, the whole idea of providing the notice early is to force the NCP to fish or cut bait. So is there a risk that the NCP will have another 30 days to object each time the CP updates the notice? The statute doesn’t say so. Ala Code §30-3-169 says the CP may change the child’s residence unless the NCP files to stop the move “within 30 days after receipt of such notice.” It says nothing of extending the time to object until all required information is disclosed.

Even though a CP can give the notice before all information is known, it stands to reason that a notice could be so incomplete that a judge might find it not meaningful. For an obvious (and unrealistic) example, one could imagine a notice that simply announces a move at some point in the future without any specifics as to location or even general direction. One would expect most judges to find that notice ineffective.

So a CP who wants to give the notice but who does not yet know all required information should follow a simple maxim that makes many lawyers uncomfortable: err on the side of giving too much information. Perhaps you know that you’re moving to Chicago but don’t yet know your new address or phone number. Instead of simply saying “Unknown” for the address, say something like “I understand that the best values in real estate close to my new job are in the Western suburbs, so that’s where I will be looking first. The real estate agent I have selected has her office in Belvidere but seems really high on Roscoe and Loves Park. I’ll let you know as soon as I know specifics.” This extra information makes it clear that you’re trying to be forthcoming. If the plans you describe later change, of course, then you will need to update the notice.

10 comments

  1. Kim Salazar says:

    I was told I was one of the first cases in Alabama to be tried regarding the AL relocation law. That was very hard for both sides. However, the information I received from this site made it possible for me to be lawful and forthcoming and it absolutely made my case firm. The judged allowed me to move with my son to NH. I knew that would be hard on my son and his father but it was the best thing, financially and educationally, for my child and my family. My son is autistic so that made my case even more difficult. Thanks so much for everything. Sincerely, Kim

  2. Sandra MacArthur says:

    My daughter, the biological mother, is trying to gain custody of her child presently living in the custody of her biological father in Florence, AL. The child (girl) is 12 years old, she was diagnosed as autistic in February, 2006. Autism is a neurological spectrum disorder, children sometimes appear to misbehave when they are really experiencing a symptom of their disorder. Her father placed her in an out of state residential home for girls with behavioral problems in Duck Hill, MS. The place is a religious, home school atmosphere. The “teachers” (a man referred to as “Brother”, his wife and two or three other female live ins) are not certified nor is the place recognized by the MS Board of Ed. in Jacsonville. He placed her in this home in March of 2006, he did not notify my daughter until April, 2006. We have an attorney, since June. We atended a preliminary court date 9/19/06, we wanted temp. custody until a decision regarding custody was decided. The Judge asked us to go to the school to see her, we did, he asked us to obtain educational material available in our location, we did. We were scheduled for a Final Court Hearing 10/19/06. At the eleventh hour the date was cancelled, we travel 785 miles to Florence from Sarasota, FL. Now the court date has been rescheduled for 12/14/06! Whats the deal?! Any ideas? We do have an attorney in Florence in the county where my granddaughter is supposed to be but is not. Frankly, I don’t understand how a Judge would stand for this, especially when I read on your website that tne CP must notify the NCP of a move, this move is not typical it is really over the top and maybe not covered by any statues. I am about to bring this to the media as it seems we are up against a “brick wall” in the judicial system in place in Florence, AL.

  3. j. hunter says:

    Horray! for Alabama!, It’s about time that SOME states stand up for Fathers rights too!, this one-sided bigamy of the court system is a black eye on the democratic systems of the entire nation. Lets reverse the situation, and every court in the nation would be hung by thier heels. The ONLY true and LAWFUL way to try any case (remember discrimination of gender is still discrimination) is for the laws to apply 50/50 regardless of Gender!
    The Gender of a person, should not even be allowed in any court of this land according to the United States Supreme Courts rulings on discrimination!

  4. t Easterling says:

    I sent my certified letter and got back confirmation that he recieved it.
    I waited the 30 days with no response. I consulted a lawyer to confirm if I did not
    recieve anything I was free to move but she would check the court docket. When I left her office she said she would notify me if anything was on the books. I did not get a call so I assumed all was well til I spoke to my ex and he said he did file so I called the next day and it is on the books. My question is what are my rights now. I live in a small town I was easily approachable for delivery of response. He said the deputy could not reach me.
    Thank you

  5. Lee Borden says:

    You’re probably stuck. The statute requires that Dad file an objection within 30 days of his receipt of your notice, but 30-30-169.1 says “except that the court may extend or waive the time for commencing such action upon a showing of good cause, excusable neglect, or that the notice required by subsection (b) of Section 30-3-165 is defective or insufficient upon which to base an action under this article.” And judges HATE to cut people off because they’re a day or two late getting something filed.

  6. huntsville says:

    I must say that i am happy to see the way in which the Alabama real estate market in going. New auto plants in Toney, Birmingham, Montgomery and the over 5000 people expected to come to North Alabama because of BRAC all contribute to the Alabama economy. The Alabama real estate market is doing amazingly well compared to the rest of the market

  7. jan says:

    While I was married, my children and I lived close(within walking distance) to my ex-husband’s parents and siblings. Now that I plan to relocate, I expect my ex to appeal my move. I recently married. There is not much, by way of job offers, for my new husband in this area, so we plan to move where he can get a comparible job to what he has now and I’m in dentistry so I can pretty much work anywhere. We want to move about 85 miles away where we both have relatives, do you see any reason why a judge would rule against the move if I am willing to meet him halfway to get the children?

  8. Lee Borden says:

    Absolutely. If Dad challenges your move and asks for a hearing about it, the judge is required to presume that the move is NOT in the children’s best interest. Tough burden to overcome.

  9. stacy says:

    Hi, my husband left me and my child ten months ago and has not seen the child. He’s a a navy vet with post traumatic stress disorder. When he has his anger attacks he threatens to sue for custody and is verbally abusive. I live with my mom who is moving 50 miles away. Do i have to have his permission? No papers for divorce are filed. Ideally I hope he gets treatment and our marriage works out. I just have nowhere to live besides with my mother. Can I move?

  10. Lee Borden says:

    Yes, you must give him the notice, and he has the right to object. You would argue, of course, that your financial circumstances make it essential that you move with your Mom and therefore overcome the presumption.

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