In any action for divorce, the parties are bound by certain “Automatic Orders” that restrict their ability to dispose of their property (including separate property) unless there is a written agreement with the other party or an order of the Court. The plaintiff is bound by these Automatic Orders once the action is filed; the defendant is bound by them once he or she is served with the initial divorce papers that commence the action. A party violating these Automatic Orders can be held in contempt of court. These Automatic Orders provide:
- Neither part shall sell, transfer, encumber, conceal, assign, remove or in any way dispose of, without the consent of the other party in writing, or by order of the court, any property (including, but not limited to, real estate, personal property, cash accounts, stocks, mutual funds, bank accounts, cars and boats) individually or jointly held by the parties, except in the usual course of business, for customary and usual household expenses or for reasonable attorney’s fees in connection with this action.
- Neither party shall transfer, encumber, assign, remove, withdraw or in any way dispose of any tax deferred funds, stocks or other assets held in any individual retirement accounts, 401K accounts, profit sharing plans, Keogh accounts, or any other pension or retirement account, and the parties shall further refrain from applying for or requesting the payment of retirement benefits or annuity payments of any kind, without the consent of the other party in writing, or upon further order of the court, except that any party who is already in pay status may continue to receive such payments thereunder.
- Neither party shall incur unreasonable debts hereafter, including but not limited to further borrowing against any credit line secured by the family residence, further encumbrancing any assets, or unreasonably using credit cards or cash advances against credit cards, except in the usual course of business or for customary or usual household expenses, or for reasonable attorney’s fees in connection with this action.
- Neither party shall cause the other party or the children of the marriage to be removed from any existing medical, hospital and dental insurance coverage, and each party shall maintain the existing medical, hospital and dental insurance coverage in full force and effect.
- Neither party shall change the beneficiaries of any existing life insurance policies, and each party shall maintain the existing life insurance, automobile insurance, homeowners and renters insurance policies in full force and effect.
- These automatic orders shall remain in full force and effect during the pendency of the action unless terminated, modified or amended by further order of the court or upon written agreement between the parties.
- The failure to obey these automatic orders may be deemed a contempt of court.