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We will work with you to handle all of your issues in a sensitive manner, including custody, alimony, division of property and other matters.
Unfortunately, the divorce process can bring out the worst in people. Even the most amicable and mutual of separations is bound to lead to disagreements and stress. When the split is contentious, things can get downright ugly.
With emotions running high, it’s not uncommon for people to make rash and hurtful decisions about important issues like child custody or finances. To prevent this, some people opt for a temporary restraining order prohibiting their soon-to-be-ex spouse from taking harmful actions.
In California, such restraining orders are automatic. If you’re going through a divorce, it’s crucial to consult an experienced divorce attorney to ensure that you’re complying with the state’s legal requirements to obtain a restraining order to protect you and your family.
Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders
Immediately upon the filing of a divorce petition, California attempts to preserve the status quo. By issuing what are known as Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATROs), the state aims to address and prevent the problematic actions that many parties are tempted to take in divorce proceedings. It’s important to note that ATROs are mutual, meaning that they apply equally to both spouses.
ATROs cover four standard areas and prevent the following actions:
- Removing minor children from the state without the prior written consent of the other spouse;
- Transferring or in any other way disposing of real or personal party without a court order or the other spouse’s written consent;
- Canceling, cashing, transferring, disposing of, or changing the beneficiaries of life insurance or other policies held for the benefit of the parties and their children;
- Creating or modifying a nonprobate transfer of property without the written consent of the other party.
Violations of these provisions are punishable by fines and/or imprisonment, or, in the case of property transfers, awarding the wronged party 50% of the property he or she would have received had the transfer not occurred.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
In cases of domestic violence, California, like all states, has procedures that allow an individual to apply for a temporary restraining order at any time. These restraining orders are distinct from the ATROs granted upon the initiation of divorce proceedings, and must be obtained separately.
Temporary restraining orders typically order the subject of the order to stay away from the other spouse, and possibly any children, until after a full hearing. After the hearing, a court may issue a final restraining order, which can remain in effect even after the conclusion of divorce proceedings.
Why It’s Important to Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney
In many cases, the parties to a divorce have no idea that their actions are potentially violating an ATRO. In fact, they might not even know that the ATRO exists. To avoid facing penalties for engaging in prohibited conduct, it’s important to hire an experienced California divorce attorney to guide you through the divorce process.
At Kearney | Baker, we have over 70 years experience handling all aspects of California divorces. Divorce can be complicated and messy, and it’s not something you should try to navigate on your own. If you’re contemplating divorce or are a party to a recently filed divorce, the time to discuss your options and obligations is now. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.