Court Orders

Male hand pointing to a divorce paper on which a woman is busy writing with a pen in a close up conceptual view.

From the moment your divorce is filed, there is an automatic restraining order on all assets, and the issuance of additional temporary orders is likely given the unique circumstances surrounding your divorce.

At the time the Plaintiff files a Complaint for Divorce the Plaintiff is subject to the automatic financial restraining order.  The Defendant is bound by the automatic financial restraining order upon being served with the Complaint for Divorce.  When a complaint for divorce is filed, contemporaneously, all your assets are frozen. This means that without the court’s permission or the express permission of your spouse, neither you nor your spouse can sell, transfer, encumber, assign or remove any asset.  There are also restrictions regarding incurring debt and making changes to retirement accounts, health and life insurance policies. . During your divorce, you may only use your money and property to pay for reasonable living expenses, as you normally would, and to pay for your reasonable attorney fees associated with the divorce action. You cannot hide or move your money or property.  You must follow this order unless and until you get another order from the court about using your money and property. All orders issued by the court are binding and failure to follow such orders will likely result in penalties. The judge may use his or her discretion to find you in contempt and instill obligatory sanctions on you.

If you feel that a temporary order stating you must pay for all utility expenses for your spouse or that you must move out of the marital home, is forcing you to fall into financial crisis, you should communicate with an experienced family law attorney to discuss your options in such an instance.  You may have grounds to seek relief from the court regarding the same.  Likewise, if you feel restrained under the automatic restraining order on assets, you again have the right to seek relief from the court. However, there must be compelling evidence for you to prove to the judge that you need relief.

Throughout your divorce, events or request of your spouse may cause the Judge to issue a court order. All orders issued by the court must be strictly followed. If you are unclear with the meaning of an order, ask. Using your own interpretation of an order is not excuse for failure to abide. During your divorce, the court is guiding you to a fair and equitable separation, and rules must be followed.

The reality is that people can make bad decisions when they are in emotionally volatile states. However, proceeding under the word of the law will not only eliminate your exposure to possible sanctions, but it will also allow for your divorce to be finalized faster and in a more cost efficient manner as time will be saved and justice will run its course.

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