Proper Venue Determined At Commencement of Action

Ex parte Ja.T. and Jo.T., [Ms. 2210298, Feb. 15, 2022] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2022). The court (Moore, J.; Thompson, P.J., and Edwards, Hanson, and Fridy, JJ., concur) issues a writ of mandamus directing the Autauga Circuit Court to transfer a modification and contempt action to Chilton County. The original petition filed by the mother sought only to modify custody of the child which had been awarded to the paternal grandparents. Ms. *4. The grandparents moved to transfer venue asserting that the child lived within Chilton County. The mother then filed an amended petition seeking to hold the grandparents in contempt. Ibid.

The court issues the writ and explains

“The question of proper venue for an action is determined at the commencement of the action.” Ex parte Pratt, 815 So. 2d 532, 534 (Ala. 2001). It is also well established that “[l]ater amendments to the complaint to add parties or claims, with the exception of substituting the true name of a fictitiously named party, are not considered in determining whether venue is improper at the commencement of the action. See Rule 15(c)(4)[, Ala. R. Civ. P.] (“relation back is permitted by principles applicable to fictitious party practice pursuant to Rule 9(h)[, Ala. R. Civ.P.]).” Ex parte Lugo de Vega, 65 So. 3d 886, 892 (Ala. 2010).

Ms. **6-7 (some internal quotation marks omitted).

The undisputed evidence showed that venue of the custody modification petition was not proper in Autauga County at the commencement of the action. Ms. *8.

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