What happens if I take the kids to another state and file for divorce there? Will the case stay there, or will a divorce judge in Alabama make me and the children come back? When two parties decide that they want a divorce, one of them will have to file a Petition for Divorce. It doesn’t really matter which party is the one that files, but the party that files will be able to choose the court that will have jurisdiction over their divorce and any future related proceedings. Jurisdiction determines which court has the legal authority to hear and decide cases as well as enter and enforce court orders. Some courts have jurisdiction over one area of law while others hear numerous different matters. In Alabama, divorces and child custody issues are heard in the Circuit Courts, which are divided by county.
Each state may have their own rules governing jurisdiction over contested divorce, uncontested divorce, and child custody proceedings, so it will depend on the state(s) involved in each matter. Circuit Courts in Alabama, for example, must have both subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction over the divorce and both of the parties. Alabama requires the online divorce to be based on statutory grounds, and one or both of the parties has to reside in Alabama for at least six consecutive months before they are allowed to file a Petition for Divorce. One of the parties has to be domiciled in Alabama, which means that they intend to live in Alabama for an indefinite period of time. If these requirements are not satisfied, then Alabama Circuit Courts do not have jurisdiction.
For child custody matters, Alabama Circuit Courts will have jurisdiction if Alabama is the child’s home state at the time of filing. If the child has significant connections to Alabama, then the Alabama Circuit Courts may have jurisdiction. It may also have jurisdiction if one parent still resides in Alabama even though the child may not currently be located in Alabama.
If you take your kids to another state and file for divorce there, Alabama may be able to require you and your kids to return to the state. However, it depends on you and your kids’ specific set of circumstances. Jurisdiction will depend on things like which state you go to and what its state laws are, how long you reside in the other state before filing for divorce, if the other parent was aware of the move prior to you moving, whether the other parent still resides in Alabama, whether your children had a significant connection to Alabama, whether moving to another state is in the best interest of your kids, etc. Because there are many factors that determine jurisdiction, it is best to consult with an experienced Prattville divorce attorney before moving states with your kids and filing for divorce. Contact us today, and one of our experienced divorce attorneys in Birmingham advise you accordingly.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!