Divorce Property Restraint

Purpose of a Property Restraint Order

Most people are familiar with restraining orders as they relate to menacing or violent behavior that forces an individual to seek protection from the courts.  However, there are other types of restraining orders that may be obtained during a divorce proceeding.  A qualified divorce attorney can help you get a restraining order and guide you through the steps you need to take if you believe your spouse has violated the order.  Following is a summary of this type of restraining order as well as the process for getting and enforcing one.

Purpose of an ATRO

An Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO) is effective for both parties as soon as a petition for divorce is filed in California.  The general purpose of the ATRO is to prevent either spouse from making changes that interrupt the lives of the children.  It also protects against changes or damage to property, including the marital home, and all assets of the spouses.  The intent is to make sure the court has a clear understanding of the situation and can make decisions on custody issues and property division that are fair to both spouses.

Effective Date of an ATRO

ATROs are activated in California as soon as one of the spouses files for divorce.  It is the effective date and time for the spouse who is seeking the divorce.  The other spouse will be served their copy of the divorce petition.  As soon as they receive the documents, their ATRO becomes effective. If either spouse violates any term of the ATRO, they face legal penalties that can include fines and jail time.

Terms of the ATRO

The California ATRO for divorce cases tends to have the same requirements that spouses must abide by.  The overall intent of the restraining order is to prevent one the spouses from:

  • Taking the child to another location or out of state without getting express consent from the other spouse.
  • Making changes to insurance policies including canceling, cashing in, or borrowing against them without getting express consent from the other spouse.
  • Changing how property is disposed without getting express consent from the other spouse.
  • Modifying property ownership including selling, transferring or borrowing against the property without getting express consent from the other spouse.

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