What Are Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders?

What are automatic temporary restraining orders? There are automatic restraining orders that go into effect in every dissolution, legal separation or annulment case. For the petitioner, these restraining orders take affect upon filing the petition and issuance of the summons. As the respondent, the restraining orders will take effect upon personal service of the petition and summons. These automatic, temporary restraining orders (ATROs) are usually found on the back of the summons.

The ATRO or automatic temporary restraining orders under domestic relation status actions are as follows:

  1. Child move away. Both parties are restrained from moving the minor children from the state without prior written consent of the other party and/or order of the Court. This action does not require a child already residing out of State at the time of the petition was filed to return to California.
  2. Insurance Policies: Both parties are restrained from cashing, borrowing against, canceling, transferring, disposing of, or changing the beneficiaries of any insurance coverage, including life, health, automobile, and disability, held for the benefit of the parties or the children. Essentially, you cannot cancel any insurance policies while going through the divorce process. You may get stuck with paying the cost of the bill that the insurance would have covered.
  3. Property transfers and extra ordinary expenditures. Both parties are restrained from transferring income and or concealing or disposing of any property real or personal whether it be community or quasi community or separate property without the other parties written consent or Court order except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life. Each party is to notify the other of any proposed extra ordinary expenditures at least five (5) business days before occurring those expenditures and to account to the Court for all extra ordinary expenditures after the service of summons. There are so specific guidelines for determining whether a property disposition was made in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life. This action does not preclude either party from using community or quasi community property or the parties own separate property to pay reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in order to retain legal counsel in the proceedings. You should always keep a paper trail documenting the source of the attorney’s fees and costs during the action. A party that cannot produce proof of the accounting may have to suffer the consequences.
  4. Both parties are restrained from creating a non probate transfer or modifying a non probate transfer in the matter that effects the disposition of the property subject to written transfer without the other parties written consent or court order. A non-probate transfer with a meaning is an instrument other than a will that transfers property upon death. This includes a revocable trust, payable on death account, totton trust accounts or transfer on death registration of personal property.

It is important that you understand that these restraining orders exist and that they can have very serious consequences. It is always advisable that you speak to an attorney. Please contact us to schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney.