By: Amanda Engel, Duncan Law Firm, LLP 

Throughout the course of a marriage, marital property and debt is generally acquired. The division of both marital property and debt often becomes a central and highly contested issue in divorces.   

To ensure neither party disposes, conceals, or dissipates assets when a divorce begins, a temporary restraining order is served along with the Summons and Complaint. The temporary restraining order stays in effect until a final decree is entered by the Court or the Complaint is dismissed. The temporary restraining order, in part, prohibits the parties from transferring, encumbering, concealing, or in any way dissipating or disposing of any marital assets, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the Court. This means neither party can buy a new house, new car, camper, or take out a significant loan without the consent of the other party or order of the Court. 

The parties are, however, allowed to use marital funds in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life to pay marital bills, buy groceries and other necessities, and pay debts. Such day-to-day expenses are not prohibited or necessarily restricted.  

The parties are also restrained from making any changes to insurance coverage without the written consent of the other party or order of the Court.  

This temporary restraining order is meant to protect each party from the other disposing, concealing, or dissipating the marital assets. To understand what you can and cannot do at the start of a divorce proceeding, it is important to discuss your case with an attorney. An attorney can advise you on what does or does not fall within the bounds of the temporary restraining order and how this constraint effects your divorce proceeding.