Automatic temporary orders (ATOs) take effect immediately after a spouse serves the other with divorce papers. The orders prevent you from doing certain tasks while the divorce is pending. Below are examples of protections you get from ATOs.
You can use ATO to protect assets during the divorce. For example, you can use the orders to:
- Prevent your partner from selling, gifting, or exchanging assets, such as cars, artwork, houses, or any asset you own.
- Prevent your partner from hiding assets, such as transferring money to an overseas bank account.
- Prevent your partner from withdrawing and using money from your bank accounts.
- Prevent your partner from changing asset ownership in any way.
Your partner should not do anything about your assets without your involvement. The goal is to ensure that your assets are all available and hold their value during asset distribution.
None of you should take further debt during your divorce; you should end your marriage only with the debts you already have. For one, you might be responsible for your partner's debt by the time you get the divorce agreement. Secondly, your partner's debts might jeopardize your assets. For example, debt collectors might sieve your assets or collateral to recover their funds.
Use ATOs to prevent further loans while the divorce is pending. For example, an ATO can prevent you from incurring further credit card debts or using your marital home as collateral for a loan.
You can also use ATOs to protect insurance policies that benefit your family members. Below are examples of such insurance policies.
Many families have one medical insurance policy for the whole family. For example, many families have medical insurance coverage from employers. In such a case, a disgruntled partner might move to strike a child or their partner off the insurance policy before the divorce is over. An ATO can prevent such moves.
Your life insurance policy may be a marital asset depending on when you purchased it, how you paid for it, and the terms and conditions of the policy. Therefore, unilateral moves to cancel or change beneficiaries can affect marital assets. Get an ATO to maintain your life insurance policies until you finalize the divorce.
Lastly, you can also use an ATO to protect your children's welfare and your access to them during the divorce. For example, you can use an ATO to ensure the other parent cannot relocate with or take the children out of state or country without permission.
Contact a divorce attorney near you to learn more.