By Henry E. Lagman
In Alabama when a noncustodial parent lives outside the state the domestic court judge can provide for out-of-state visitation with the minor children. This usually varies from court to court and judge to judge. This can vary within each County and in some cases with the judges in that County. Most judges however provide what is called “Standard Out-Of-State Visitation” as a guide to the parties. The original divorce judgment from your state will need to be domesticated under the laws and acts of Congress in order to be enforced or otherwise modified. There is a procedure to do this in order that your divorce decree can be enforced or otherwise modified in Alabama. This will make it in Alabama divorce decree and subject to Alabama law.
Knowing your judge and what their policy is is therefore extremely important in anticipating what the disposition of out-of-state visitation will be. Again this will vary depending on what County you seek to file in.
In Jefferson County, Alabama there are three domestic relations judges in the Birmingham division which have different policies regarding out-of-state visitation.
To summarize all of them is difficult but to paint out-of-state visitation with a broad brush usually entails that the non-custodial parent will receive 4 to 6 weeks in the summer at a time to be selected by the noncustodial parent. Each of the judges endorsed the position that the noncustodial parent who is usually out-of-state be given more time with the children when they are in town. This is usually triggered by giving 48 hours notice prior to the visitation and is usually limited to no longer than 48 hours. So out-of-state visitation can vary dramatically with the judge that is hearing the case.
This is an outline of the Birmingham division domestic relations Judges’ approach.
The out-of-state parent is usually given the following:
1. A week at Christmas.
2. Thanksgiving in even years from six on Wednesday to six on Sunday.
3. Easter in the even years from 6 PM on Saturday until 6 PM on Easter Sunday.
4. Six weeks during the summer to be selected by the noncustodial parent on written notice.
5. Spring break in the even years determined by the school calendar.
6. Fall break in the odd years by the school calendar.
7. Father’s Day is reserved for the father 4 PM on Saturday to 6 PM on Sunday.
8. Mother’s Day is reserved for the mother 4 PM on Saturday to 6 PM on Sunday.
9. There are some travel restrictions and arrangements which are specific to the children and their ages.
10. Other visitation is encouraged by agreement and at other reasonable times when the noncustodial parent is in town upon 48 hours notice.
11. The custodial parent is under a duty to notify the noncustodial parent regarding illness or accident of the children.
12. Both parties are instructed to maintain propriety, sobriety and prohibited from cohabitation with a person of the opposite sex without benefit of marriage.
13. Each party shall have reasonable telephone access with the minor children.
14. The noncustodial parent’s notify the other party when they are unable to exercise the station at the scheduled time and place.
15. Neither party is scheduled activities for the children which will preclude this session.
16. Both parties shall have access to information regarding the children including but not limited to medical dental and hospital records, school records, report cards and other information concerning the minor children.
Judge Batista’s standard out-of-state visitation somewhat similar but varies as to whether there is odd years or even years for the specific visitation periods. The differences are rather minor but does limit some telephone visitation to each Thursday.
Similarly, it grants visitation for the noncustodial out of town parent whenever they are in town provided there is 48 hours notice and the visitation will be no longer than 48 hours in duration.
Judge Palmer’s standard out-of-state visitation is also six weeks during the summer months on 30 days written notice. It is similar to Judge Stevens and Judge Batista’s. It coincides with Judge Batista’s telephone access being limited to Thursday.
All the judges are receptive to the best interest of the children and will be alert to potential abuse by the custodial parent.
Please call me if you have any questions about out-of-state visitation in your specific case as what each judge may do will be based upon the individual facts regarding the children.
My phone number is 205-987-2005.
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