Our Alabama appellate law practice often handles custody issues in post-divorce modification cases. These are situations where the parties have already gone through a divorce, one party was awarded custody, and then the other party has later filed a petition seeking to modify the earlier custody decree. A critical issue that arises in custody modification appeals is whether the “McLendon standard” was met at trial.
The McLendon standard refers to an Alabama Supreme Court case called Ex parte McLendon, 455 So. 2d 863 (Ala. 1984). Under McLendon, the party seeking a change in custody must show that “material changes affecting the child’s welfare since the most recent decree demonstrate that custody should be disturbed to promote the child’s best interests. The positive good brought about by the modification must more than offset the inherently disruptive effect caused by uprooting the child.” 455 So. 2d at 865-66. As explained in Ex parte Couch, 521 So. 2d 987, 989 (Ala. 1988), this means custody will be changed only if it would “materially promote” the child’s welfare.
Whether or not the facts in a particular case satisfied the McLendon standard is the topic of a large number of Alabama appellate court rulings. To discuss whether you should appeal the outcome of a custody modification trial, contact our office at (800) 737-3702 Ext. 1 or fill out our online Contact form.
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