Alice Beth Clark Devine (defendant) and Christopher Devine (plaintiff) were married in 1966, had two children, and subsequently separated in 1979. Both Alice and Christopher held jobs outside the home. At the time of Alice and Christopher’s separation, both children were less than seven years old and were thus considered to fall under the tender-years legal presumption. The trial court relied upon the tender-years presumption, which requires courts to award custody of young children to the mother if the parents are equally fit, and awarded Alice custody of the Devines’ two young children, subject to Christopher’s liberal visitation rights. Christopher ultimately appealed to the Supreme Court of Alabama.