(a) Except as provided in subsection (c), the presiding circuit judge of any judicial circuit may establish by means of a written order, a family court division or divisions of the judicial circuit. The presiding circuit judge shall assign one or more of the existing circuit or district judges to preside in the family court division. The circuit or district court judges assigned to the family court division shall handle all cases and proceedings involving domestic relations, divorces, annulments of marriage, legal separations, custody and support of children, granting and enforcement of alimony, proceedings under any uniform interstate support or custody act, and all other domestic and marital matters over which the circuit courts have jurisdiction, including non-support cases arising in the circuit court under Chapter 3 and Chapter 4, Title 30, as well as other matters within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. In the event a district judge is assigned, the district judge shall serve as an ex officio circuit judge when handling cases. The presiding circuit judge may assign other relevant cases to the family court division.
(b) The presiding circuit judge of each judicial circuit choosing to establish a family court division shall coordinate with the Administrative Director of Courts in the development of a written implementation plan and shall submit the plan to the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for approval. The plan shall become effective no later than 90 days upon approval by the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
(c) This section shall not apply to any circuit which already has a family court structure established by local law, including the Sixth, Seventh, Tenth, Thirteenth, Fifteenth, Twentieth, Twenty-third, and Thirty-seventh Judicial Circuits, unless otherwise provided by local law.