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Administrative Office of Courts
300 Dexter Ave.
Montgomery, Al 36104
(334) 954-5000

Unified Family Court

The concept of a unified family court is to place cases dealing with juvenile and family law in one court in order to serve the families more effectively and efficiently.

Establishment of Family Court Divisions

Section 12-17-24.1, Ala.Code 1975, provides that if the presiding circuit judge of any judicial circuit wishes to establish a family court division, he or she must coordinate with the Administrative Director of Courts in the development of a written implementation plan, which shall be submitted to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for approval. Upon approval by the Chief Justice, the plan shall become effective not later than 90 days.

The presiding circuit judge then establishes, by written order, a family court division of the judicial circuit. The presiding circuit judge may assign one or more of the existing circuit or district court judges to preside in the division.

The following types of cases shall be handled in this division:
  • *Domestic relations
  • *Divorces
  • *Annulments of Marriage
  • *Legal Separations
  • *Custody and Support of Children
  • *Granting and Enforcement of Alimony
  • *Proceedings under any Uniform Support or Custody Act
  • *Other Domestic and Marital Matters
  • *Nonsupport Actions
  • *Any Matter in the Jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court

The following circuits have had Family Court Divisions established by Section 12-17-24.1:
  • 26th Judicial Circuit (Russell County)
  • 27th Judicial Circuit (Marshall County)
  • 33rd Judicial Circuit (Dale and Geneva Counties)

Other “family court divisions” or “family courts” have been established by state statute or local act as follows:
  • State Statute
    • 37th Judicial Circuit (Lee County) – Section 12-17-24.2
  • Local Act
    • 6th Judicial Circuit (Tuscaloosa County)
    • 7th Judicial Circuit (Calhoun, Cleburne Counties)
    • 10th Judicial Circuit (Jefferson County)
    • 13th Judicial Circuit (Mobile County)
    • 15th Judicial Circuit (Montgomery County)
    • 20th Judicial Circuit (Henry, Houston Counties)
    • 23rd Judicial Circuit (Madison County)