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What You Should Know about Temporary Restraining Orders

If you are filing for divorce, you may have a need for a special restraining order called an automatic temporary restraining order. Here is more information about this type of restraining order and how it benefits you.

What is an automatic temporary restraining order?

An automatic temporary restraining order (ATROS) is a type of restraining order meant to protect both you and your spouse when you start divorce proceedings. The order goes into place automatically when you file a summons of dissolution (divorce), ask to have your marriage annulled, file for legal separation, or file for paternity. This restraining order remains in effect until the judgment is completed or the petition is dismissed.

What are the rules of a temporary restraining order?

When you get an ATROS, it will prevent both you and your spouse from doing certain things. The following rules are common among most temporary restraining orders given during separation or divorce proceedings:

  • Children can't be moved out of state. If your spouse decides to move to their parent's home in another state, they can't take your children. Children must remain in the state they currently live in. However, if they already live in another state before the ATROS goes into effect, that does not go against the restraining order.
  • Property can't be concealed or disposed of. When you go through divorce, you will be required to list all property that is communal and individual property. You can't conceal any property in hopes that it will work in your favor. You also can't dispose of any property, such as emptying a cash deposit box or trying to sell a car you both use. You also can't attempt to get a loan off of joint property.
  • Insurance beneficiaries can't be changed. You are also not allowed to change beneficiaries for any insurance policies, nor can you cancel or transfer an insurance policy. This includes life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, and auto insurance policies.

What is not a violation of the restraining order?

There are also a variety of things that are not considered a violation of the temporary restraining order. Those include

  • Altering wills. If you want to change a beneficiary on your will, such as removing your spouse from the will, you can do so without breaking the rules of the temporary restraining order. However, if you want to remove a child from the will or alter a child's beneficiary status, you may need to get a court order.
  • Ending joint tenancy agreements. If you and your spouse agree and your spouse is served with a court order, you can end the joint tenancy you have for your home. For example, if you both are on the lease for an apartment and your spouse has moved out, you can request to have them removed from the lease. This does not go against the ATROS. 

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