Automatic Restraining Orders in the Probate and Family Court

By Virginia A. Dyer, Esq., Associate Levine-Piro Law
The automatic restraining order relates to financial, health insurance, and beneficiary issues of parties to a divorce.
When a Party files for divorce or separate support a Divorce/Separate Support Summons is issued. The Summons is required to be served with the Complaint on the other spouse. On the first page of the Summons is the automatic restraining order rule. The rule is effective as of the date of the filing of the Complaint for the Plaintiff who filed it and for the Defendant it is effective as of the date of service of the Summons and Complaint. The Automatic Restraining Order applies to both parties. The restraining order stays in effect for the pendency of the action.
The restraining order remains in effect during the pendency of the action, unless it is modified by agreement of the parties or by further order of the court and is automatically vacated upon entry of a judgment of divorce or separate support.
The Supplemental Rule states:
1. Neither party shall sell, transfer, encumber, conceal, assign, remove or in any way dispose of any property, real or personal, belonging to or acquired by, either party, except: (a) as required for reasonable expenses of living; (b) in the ordinary and usual course of business; (c) in the ordinary and usual course of investing; (d) for payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in connection with the action; (e) written agreement of both parties; or (f) by order of the court.

2. Neither party shall incur any further debts that would burden the credit of the other party, including but not limited to further borrowing against any credit line secured by the marital residence or unreasonably using credit cards or cash advances against credit or bank cards.

3. Neither party shall directly or indirectly change the beneficiary of any life insurance policy, pension or retirement plan, or pension or retirement investment account, except with the written consent of the other party or by order of the court.

4. Neither party shall directly or indirectly cause the other party or the minor child(ren) to be removed from coverage under an existing insurance policy, including medical, dental, life, automobile, and disability insurance. The parties shall maintain all insurance coverage in full force and effect.

A party can be found in contempt of court if they do not follow the automatic restraining order during the pendency of the court proceeding. This does not mean that the parties can’t go about their day to day lives, but it does mean that neither party can dispose of marital assets.
For questions regarding the automatic restraining order, divorce, or other family law issues, contact Levine-Piro Law for a free consultation, 978-637-2048.