“I’ve just been served divorce papers in Carlsbad and there are restraining orders on the back of the summons. What are temporary restraining orders in a Carlsbad divorce and what do they really mean?”
The shock of being served divorce papers is disruptive for most people, even when they are expected. However, many are surprised by the Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (often referred to as ATROs) listed on the back of the summons. What are the Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders and how important is it to follow them?
The short answer is: “They are extremely important. Follow them to the letter.”
ATROs protect both parties at the outset of a divorce. The Court is basically ordering both parties not to take any action which is adverse to the “community” without the advance permission of the Court and without notifying the other in writing in advance. It is important to remember you and your former spouse still have a “fiduciary duty” to one another until the divorce is completed. In essence, this requires you to protect the assets and interests of the other party as if they were your own.
For example, you may not remove a child from the State of California. This prevents relocation and move-away cases and preserves the jurisdiction or “venue” of the local Court for child custody and parenting time. This does not apply to those who already have custody outside of California. If the child lives outside of California at the time of the summons they do not have to be returned.
Temporary restraining orders in a Carlsbad divorce also place substantial limitations on financial transactions and borrowing activities. You may not pledge any community assets as collateral for a loan or security for a debt. You cannot withdraw funds from a joint marital bank or investment account and deposit them into an account that is just in your name. You cannot make any major purchases without providing five business days advance written notice to the Court and your former spouse that you intend to do so.
You may not cash or borrow against any insurance policies or modify existing insurance policies. ATROs also prevent either party from removing the other from health insurance coverage or modifying the beneficiary of existing policies, or transferring or modifying coverage in any way. This applies to all forms of insurance including life, auto, health and medical and disability insurance.
Temporary restraining orders in a Carlsbad divorce are designed to protect the “status quo” between the parties. Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders can be modified or removed by the Court at any point during the process of your divorce.