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Can you stop your spouse from squandering assets in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2021 | Property Division

If there is one thing that can raise the temperature in a divorce, it is money. Even if your spouse has plenty, they might prefer to watch it burn than to give any to you. 

It pays to take action early if you suspect this may be your spouse’s mentality. One option available to you may be filing an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO). 

What is an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order?

An ATRO freezes assets. While it doesn’t totally freeze what you two have, it significantly limits what your spouse can do with those assets. 

When you divorce, you will need to divide your property. Your spouse may try to hide assets or reduce them if they’re unwilling to play fair. Many husbands and wives think that the less they appear to have, the more unlikely they’ll need to pass something on to you. That, at least, might be their reasoning.

What can an ATRO protect?

An ATRO can limit your spouse’s ability to carry out financial actions, including:

  • Selling assets
  • Withdrawing funds
  • Transferring assets into another name or place
  • Spending funds 
  • Taking on debt
  • Accessing a safe deposit box
  • Denying you financial information
  • Defaulting on insurance premiums
  • Cutting off your access to credit
  • Changing beneficiaries on life insurance policies
  • Destroying financial records

You may find it helpful to discuss whether requesting an ATRO is appropriate in your case with an attorney.

What if I did not take out an ATRO soon enough?

If your spouse tells you they want a divorce, they may have already made attempts to diminish their visible assets. You may need to do some detective work in such a situation. Your attorney may recommend you bringing in forensic accountants to search for hidden assets. You will need to have an accurate picture of what assets you and your spouse own to get a fair divorce settlement in your case.