1. DO try to maintain a stable environment for all parties involved, especially the children. Most courts prefer that the children stay in the parties’ home in the custody of the person who has traditionally provided the majority of the care and control prior to the initiation of the action.
2. DO set up a schedule of visitation for the parties to follow during the pendency of the action. Madison County has a Standing Visitation schedule which is to be followed by the parties as soon as a divorce action is filed. This schedule is meant to be a minimum requirement rather than a maximum requirement. Find what works best for your family.
3. DO NOT speak unfavorably about your spouse in front of your children. This includes statements, written words and actions in their direct presence and through social media. Some courts require that both parties take a class regarding transition in parenting which can provide productive ways to explain your situation to your children.
4. DO ask the Court for Emergency Relief when you cannot come to an agreement regarding the children. This includes, but is not limited to, child support, residency of the children, visitation schedules, abuse, etc. The Court will hold a hearing as soon as possible in order to remedy the problem areas.
5. DO calculate child support for the non-custodial parent to pay while the divorce action is pending. Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration explains how the courts will calculate child support.
6. DO NOT change any medical benefits, life insurance policies, automobile policies, trust funds, etc., for the minor children. Courts insist that the parties maintain the status quo and refrain from altering, changing, removing, selling or converting assets, benefits or policies pending a Final Order from the Court.
7. DO remember that the best interests of the children should be the first priority.