Alabama Code Title 30. Marital and Domestic Relations. § 30-3-4.1
Search Code of Alabama
(a) For the purposes of this section, the term “grandparent” means the parent of a parent of a minor child, including an adopted child, the parent of a minor child's parent who has died, or the parent of a minor child's parent whose parental rights have been terminated when the child has been adopted pursuant to Section 26-10A-27, 26-10A-28, or 26-10A-30, dealing with stepparent and relative adoption.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a grandparent may file an original action for visitation rights to a minor child if it is in the best interest of the minor child and one of the following conditions exist:
(1) One or both parents of the child are deceased.
(2) The marriage of the parents of the child has been dissolved.
(3) A parent of the child has abandoned the minor.
(4) The child was born out of wedlock.
(5) The child is living with one or both biological or adoptive parents, who are still married to each other, whether or not there is a broken relationship between either or both parents of the minor and the grandparent and either or both parents have used their parental authority to prohibit a relationship between the child and the grandparent.
(c) Any grandparent may intervene in and seek to obtain visitation rights in any action when any court in this state has before it any question concerning the custody of a minor child, a divorce proceeding of the parents or a parent of the minor child, or a termination of the parental rights proceeding of either parent of the minor child, provided the termination of parental rights is for the purpose of adoption pursuant to Sections 26-10A-27, 26-10A-28, or 26-10A-30, dealing with stepparent or relative adoption. If the termination of parental rights is for the purpose of adoption, and the potential adoptive parent or parents are not stepparents or relatives, the grandparent may intervene in the action for the purpose of seeking to obtain visitation, provided that the grandparent has an established relationship with the child. The right of the grandparent to seek visitation terminates if the court approves a petition for adoption by an adoptive parent who is not a stepparent or a biological relative of the child.
(d) Upon the filing of an original action or upon intervention in an existing proceeding pursuant to subsections (b) and (c), the court shall determine if visitation by the grandparent is in the best interests of the child. Visitation shall not be granted if the visitation would endanger the physical health of the child or impair the emotional development of the child. If the child is living with one or both biological or adoptive parents, there shall be a rebuttable presumption for purposes of this section that the parent or parents with whom the child is living know what is in the best interests of the child. In determining the best interests of the child, the court shall consider the following:
(1) The willingness of the grandparent or grandparents to encourage a close relationship between the child and the parent or parents.
(2) The preference of the child, if the child is determined to be of sufficient maturity to express a preference.
(3) The mental and physical health of the child.
(4) The mental and physical health of the grandparent or grandparents.
(5) Evidence of domestic violence inflicted by one parent upon the other parent or the child. If the court determines that evidence of domestic violence exists, visitation provisions shall be made in a manner protecting the child or children, parents, or grandparents from further abuse.
(6) If a parent has relinquished custody either voluntarily or by court order or if a parent has abandoned a child financially, whether the grandparent has an established relationship with the child.
(7) The wishes of any parent who is living.
(8) Other relevant factors in the particular circumstances.
(e) The court shall make specific written findings of fact in support of its rulings. A grandparent who petitions for visitation may do so no more than once every 24 months. The fact that one grandparent has petitioned for visitation shall not preclude another grandparent from subsequently petitioning for visitation within the 24-month period. After visitation rights have been granted to any grandparent, the legal custodian, guardian, or parent of the child may petition the court for revocation or amendment of the visitation rights, for good cause shown, which the court, in its discretion, may grant or deny. Unless evidence of abuse is alleged or other exceptional circumstances, a petition shall not be filed with respect to any one grandparent who has been granted visitation more than once in any two-year period. If more than one grandparent has successfully petitioned for visitation, the parent may petition no more than once every 24 months for revocation or amendment of visitation with respect to each order of visitation.
(f) If the court finds that the grandparent or grandparents can bear the cost without unreasonable financial hardship, the court, at the sole expense of the petitioning grandparent or grandparents, may appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor child.
(g) Notwithstanding the foregoing, a grandparent may not be granted visitation with a grandchild where the parent related to the grandparent has either given up legal custody voluntarily or by court order or has abandoned the child financially unless the grandparent has an established relationship with the child and the court finds that visitation with the grandparent is in the best interests of the child.
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