Family Law

Alabama Family Law: An Overview

Despite any reservations you may have about government oversight on your family matter, Alabama’s family laws are designed to protect you and your family’s rights and health along with the community’s health. A happy and healthy family makes for a functional community. If an issue comes up, Alabama’s family laws will ensure that you and your family members will be treated fairly and to both your family and the community’s best interests.

If you have a family law case in Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery or elsewhere in Alabama, LawInfo is your source for information and legal help. LawInfo’s Alabama Family Law section includes legal overviews, summaries of state laws and other resources to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.

If you need help navigating the complex laws governing your case, an Alabama family law attorney can help and treat your case with the sensitivity it deserves.

Alabama Marriage Requirements

Love may have its legal limits in many states, but Alabama’s marriage laws are relatively liberal. There are only a handful of hard restrictions when it comes to whom, how and when you may marry in Alabama, including:

  • Minors under 16 years of age cannot marry, but minors between ages 16 and 18 may with the consent of their parents or guardians.
  • You cannot marry children, siblings, parents, uncles, aunts, grandchildren, grandparents or great grandparents of any relation. You can marry first cousins without restriction, however.
  • If you were previously married and divorced, you must wait 60 days after the divorce is finalized before remarrying.
  • No state residency requirement, though some counties may enforce a local residency requirement.
  • Proxy marriages (i.e. when a third party performs the ceremony in place of the bride or groom) are prohibited.
  • Same-sex marriage is legal in Alabama, but some counties may refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex partners.

Alabama Prenuptial Agreements

When you’re planning your marriage with your partner, the last thing on your minds is the end of the marriage. Divorce is never a pleasant topic but it should be covered early on through a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement is a lot like insurance—it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. It helps to determine what each partner owned individually (“separate property”) prior to the marriage so there’s no confusion later on. You can also determine how you’d like your marital property to be divided among yourselves, including real property, finances, debts, etc.

An Alabama prenuptial agreement may include provisions for alimony. However, provisions about child support, custody or visitation are unenforceable because the court ultimately makes decisions on these matters.

Adoption in Alabama

When growing your family through natural birth isn’t an option for you and your partner, Alabama’s family laws permit adoption after you meet statutory requirements and complete an extensive adoption process. Your family may adopt a minor (age 18 or younger) of any physical or mental condition or an adult (age 19 or older) who is:

  • Related to you or your partner by any degree of kinship (including stepchildren),
  • Willing to be adopted by an adult couple,
  • Totally and permanently disabled, or
  • Intellectually disabled.

If you are adopting an adult, they must provide written consent to be adopted unless they are intellectually disabled. Minors who are age 14 or older must also provide written consent for adoption.

Single-parent adoptions are not prohibited in Alabama. Any adult or married couple may adopt as long as one adult remains in the home with the minor adoptee for a reasonable amount of time throughout the year.