What is ATROS and what does it have to do with my divorce? Let’s say you have filed a petition for divorce, and your spouse is planning to clean out your savings account in order to move with the kids to another state and reside with the grandparents. Do you have any say in the matter? The short answer is, yes. A good, local attorney can explain your rights in more detail.
ATROS – Family Code Section 2040
ATROS or automatic temporary restraining orders, are included in the Summons of any California divorce. When the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Domestic Partnership is signed, the signatory is legally bound to adhere to the matters addressed by the ATROS, which essentially restricts both partners from a number of actions while the divorce is pending. Included in the list of prohibited activities is removing any minor children from the state. In fact, even applying for a passport without the consent of both parties and the court is not permitted. Section 2040 has a number of additional restrictions that are worth understanding.
Parties are not allowed to transfer, encumber, conceal, or dispose of any property during this time frame without the written agreement of the other party and the court. This includes both community property and separate property, except under very specific circumstances:
- When it is in the normal course of business, or;
- If it is none as a necessity for living, or;
- When the actions are undertaken in order to pay for attorney’s fees related to the divorce.
ATROS Can Restrict Certain Changes
Neither party may make changes to any insurance policies, including automobile, disability, life and health insurance policies. This restricts the ability of parties to:
- Cash in on or borrow from policies;
- Cancel policies;
- Transfer policies;
- Change beneficiaries on policies.
The parties may not create or modify a non-probate transfer in any fashion that might impact the disposition of property without the written consent of both parties and the court.
Purpose of ATROS
While any part of the ATROS may be modified if there is agreement on the issues, ATROS are in place in order to protect divorcing parties from unethical actions, like concealing or changing one’s financial status during the course of the marriage or sneaking the kids away from one spouse in order to cause distress. Some describe it as a sort of freeze on financial activity for a temporary period. It can be a crucial action, particularly if one party holds more control over assets than the other. In addition to offering a level of protection to divorcing couples. It also provides more clarity as to the value of assets, since little to no changes are allowed to occur during this period. Continue reading →