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Domestic Update Domestic Relations Update Legislation to Change the Age of Majority Representative Bill Poole of Tuscaloosa sponsored HB-70, a bill that would lower the age of majority from 19 years to 18 years. HB-70 passed in the House of Representatives on February, 23, 2017 and was transmitted to the Senate on February 28, 2017. The bill would amend Alabama’s age of majority statute, Ala. Code § 26-1-1, to read in part: “Any person in this state, at the arrival at the age of 18 years, shall be relieved of his or her disabilities of minority and thereafter shall have the same legal rights and abilities as persons over 21 years of age. . .” Domestic relations lawyers will be quick to notice that the bill also provides that “nothing in this section shall affect or be deemed to affect any child support order or any law relating to child support, including any court decision relating to child support.” Despite the language of the bill, the passage and enactment of the law changing the age of majority will no doubt affect future child support judgments or at minimum lead to litigation as to the effect of the law. Notably, the Supreme Court of Alabama has determined in Ex parte Christopher, 145 So. 3d 60 (Ala. 2003), the plain meaning of “child” for purposes of child support statute, Ala. Code § 30-3-1, unambiguously means “minor” or “a person under the age of majority.” Following the Court’s reasoning in Ex parte Christopher, a parent’s obligation to support his or her child ceases when the child reaches the age of majority. Similar bills have failed in the past; however, domestic relations attorneys should keep their eye on this bill. If signed into law, the domestic relations practitioner may find himself or herself examining divorce decrees to determine whether a party’s child support obligation continues until the child reaches age 19 or the age of majority. G G. R. Fernambucq and Joseph P. Callaway are practitioners with Boyd, Fernambucq & Dunn G. R. Fernambucq & Joseph P. Calloway A8165161-01 Top law students, standing by. Presenting the modern legal clerkship— qualified student help at your fingertips. Do you need help with: research, editing, document review or other legal tasks? We have top law students ready to assist! www.bookitlegal.com Every child matters, every gift matters THE POWER OF A CHILD It was apparent early on that Tucker was going to need the help of the entire team at the Pediatric & Congenital Heart Center of Alabama if he were to have any hope for survival. Through the power of highly skilled pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons and all that modern medicine has to offer, Tucker is now a healthy little boy with a bright future ahead. You know your clients have the power to help a child through their philanthropy. A of insurance, stock or a portion of an estate gift to Children’s of Alabama ensures that world-class medical care continues to be available for the next generation and for those to come. Planned giving director Chris Theriot is ready to answer your questions regarding planned gifts to Children’s and how they can have the most impact for our patients and your clients. For information, contact: Chris Theriot Director of Development Grants and Planned Giving 205.638.6241 chris.theriot@childrensal.org A8153629-01 Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Summer 2017 33


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