Upon filing for a divorce in California, Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (often referred to as “ATROS”) kick in.  You will see these on Page 2 of your Summons.  These restraining orders are mutual and become effective on the Respondent upon service of the initial dissolution paperwork.  ATROS remain in place until the final dissolution Judgment is entered, a Petition for Dissolution is dismissed, and the Court orders termination.

ATROS prohibit BOTH parties from:

  1. Removing the minor child or children of the parties, if any, from the state without the prior written consent of the other party or an order of the court.
  • If the minor child(ren) are residing in another state when the Petition is filed, it does not require that the child(ren) be returned to California.
  1. Transferring, encumbering, hypothecating, concealing, or in any way disposing of, any property, real or personal, whether community, quasi-community, or separate, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life.
  • You may not borrow money against a community property asset.
  • You may not use community property as collateral for a debt.
  • You may not close a joint checking account and transfer the money into your own separate account.  This is a big one.  If you are contemplating divorce, and you have questions about bank accounts, you may want to consult with an attorney.
  • You may not remove items or cash from a safe deposit box.
  1. Cashing, borrowing against, canceling, transferring, disposing of, or changing the beneficiaries of any insurance or other coverage, including life, health, automobile, and disability, held for the benefit of the parties and their child or children for whom support may be ordered.
  • You may not cash in your life insurance policy and put the proceeds in a separate account.  Whole or universal life insurance policies generally have a cash value. Term life insurance policies do not.
  • You may not change the beneficiary on your life insurance policy.
  • You may not remove your spouse or children from the medical, dental or vision insurance policy.
  • You may not remove your spouse from your automobile insurance policy.

Some actions are not considered ATRO violations by the Court which includes payment for attorney’s fees.  Any funds, whether community or separate, may be used to pay for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs associated with a dissolution.  Additionally, you may procure counsel via the use of community real property to secure legal counsel.  This is commonly referred to as a Family Law Attorney Real Property Lien (FLARPL).  However, notice must be provided.

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