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Birmingham Bar Association Summer 2016

Family LAw G. R. Fernambucq FAMILY LAW LEGISLATIVE ALERTS Th e 2016 regular legislative session began on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, and must end by midnight on Monday, May 16, 2016. It may end sooner depending on actual days the legislature is in session. Th ere is also the possibility of a special session. Th ere are several bills that will aff ect the current status of the law in the area of divorce/family law. Some of the highlights are noted herein. HB 328 – would amend § 30-2-51, Ala. Code 1975, which is Alabama’s alimony statute that authorizes the division of retirement benefi ts. Th e bill eliminates the requirement of providing evidence concerning the present value of retirement benefi ts in all cases. It also eliminates the requirement that parties must be married for at least ten (10) years before the court could consider awarding retirement benefi ts. It does retain the limitation that precludes the court from awarding more than fi fty percent (50%). HB 332 – would provide that a common law marriage may not be entered into in this state after January 1, 2017. HB 331 – provides a procedure for proving a common-law marriage. Both parties must be present in the probate court of their residence and fi le a “Declaration of Common Law Marriage.” It does not apply to any person less than 19 years of age. Th e parties are entering into an agreement to be married and must assert that they are married in certain legal documents such as a tax return. HB 333 – revises §30-3-153, Ala. Code 1975, which is our present “joint custody” statute. It revises defi nitions, parenting plans, remedies when a party fails to adhere to provisions in a parenting plan, and others. HB 458 – revises various statutes dealing with domestic violence and protection orders – some criminal and some marital and domestic relations. SB 55 Th is bill is yet another attempt to pass a grandparents visitation act that is constitutional. It passed on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 and at present is on its way to the governor’s desk to be signed. It is version number 10. HB 433, HB 362, and SB 143 – eliminate the requirement of marriage licenses. Th e two parties would provide and record with the judge of probate certain affi davits, forms and data regarding the parties’ entering into the marriage within thirty (30) days of entering into the marriage. It is up to the parties to record the required documents, and the judge of probate would have no authority to reject the recording if all documents are provided. As of May 3, 2016, two of these bills had passed (Grandparent’s Visitation and abolishment of common law marriage). By the time this bulletin is published, depending on whether a special session is called, the fate of the remaining bills should be known. Some changes could be substantial, so follow the outcome closely. G G. R. “Rick” Fernambucq practices family law with Boyd, Fernambucq, Dunn & Fann, P.C. 14 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Summer 2016
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