Once a spouse announces that they want a divorce, the immediate aftermath can be somewhat chaotic. There are all kinds of questions about the division of assets and debts along with issues of support that have to be addressed.
Until both sides have had a chance to assess their situation and make some plans, the court generally seeks to preserve the family’s “status quo” through something known as automatic orders.
In practical terms, what does that mean?
You need to read the Notice of Automatic Court Orders carefully so that you fully understand your rights and obligations during this time. Some of the key highlights state that:
- If there are children, neither parent is allowed to remove them from the state or interfere with the other’s relationship (including visitation) with the kids during this time.
- Neither party is permitted to sell, transfer, conceal or otherwise change their financial holdings and assets except by mutual agreement or court order.
- Neither party is allowed to accrue any unusual or unreasonable debts during this time, such as by borrowing against the family home or opening new loans that could be considered marital debt.
- Neither party can allow the family’s insurance policies to lapse (including medical, auto and homeowners).
- Neither party can make changes to the beneficiaries of any life insurance policies, investments or pensions while the divorce is pending.
As difficult as things may seem right after you either make the decision to divorce or find out that your spouse has made it for you, you don’t have to worry about answering all your questions at once. The automatic orders will help provide some stability while you explore all your legal options.