The parties were divorced in 2009 by a judgment of the Tuscaloosa Circuit Court. Pursuant to an agreement of the parties that was incorporated into the decree of divorce, the mother was given primary physical custody of the parties’ two then-minor daughters and the father was given primary physical custody of the parties’ son. Since the divorce, the mother and the daughters have resided in Tuscaloosa County and the father and the son have resided in Pickens County.
On June 7, 2012, the mother petitioned the Tuscaloosa Circuit Court for emergency relief to enforce her right to summer visitation with the son. She also sought to hold the father in contempt and to modify post-minority support provisions in the decree.
The father filed an answer and counterclaim in which he sought to hold the mother in contempt. The father petitioned the Court of Civil Appeals for mandamus relief. The Court of Civil Appeals denied the petition without an opinion. The father petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for certiorari review.
Writ of mandamus issued. Ala. Code 1975, § 30-3-5, provides that venue for an action seeking modification or the enforcement of an order involving a child is proper in the county where the order was issued or in the county where the custodial parent and child have resided for at least three years. It further provides that if the residency requirement is satisfied, the custodial parent can select the venue. See also Ex parte Baker, 575 So.2d98 (Ala. Civ. App. 1990).
The mother did not dispute that the father satisfied the requirements of Section 30-3-5, but argued that the statute did not apply here because her action also involved claims relating to the daughters as to which venue was proper in Tuscaloosa County. The Court rejected this argument. The Court acknowledged the statute could result in inequities, but stated it was bound to say what the law is, not what it should be. Ex parte Brandon (In re: Brandon v. Brandon).