Divorcing with Dignity Series – Article 2 – The Automatic Orders in Connecticut
The first article of this series discussed starting the divorce process and a document called the Complaint. This article will discuss a document entitled “Automatic Orders” which are attached to the Complaint and are served with the Complaint on your spouse by the judicial marshal. Knowing what the Automatic Orders mean and when they are applicable to each of the parties is a critical planning tool (more on this in a later article). The automatic orders put significant restrictions and protections in place.
Automatic orders become binding upon the plaintiff, the person filing the complaint, at the moment the complaint is signed by the plaintiff, or the attorney representing the plaintiff. Automatic orders become binding upon the defendant, the person being served the complaint, at the moment the complaint is served either in hand, or at their place of abode. These two types of service were discussed in the first article.
Remember these restrictions and prohibitions become court orders as explained above!! Any party who violates any of the restrictions or prohibitions contained within the Automatic Orders becomes liable to a finding of contempt if the adverse party chooses to file such a motion. A contempt motion allows the court to force the party that is found in contempt to pay the costs of the party filing the motion and do whatver the court deems reasonable. It also paints the party found in contempt in a less than favorable light to the court.
The purpose behind the Automatic Orders is to maintain the status quo during the divorce and prevent either side from taking advantage of the other without either attorney having to file and argue costly motions. The parties can mutually agree in writing to something that would otherwise violate the Automatic Orders, and either party can ask the court to allow something that would otherwise be prohibited.
Please review the Automatic Orders in their entirety at the link above. Here is a summary of a select few Automatic Orders:
- Neither party can remove the minor child(ren) from the State;
- Prevents removing funds from a jointly owned bank, credit union or brokerage account and placing those funds into an account owned solely in the name of the party removing the funds;
- Prevents selling, transferring, exchanging, assigning, removing, or in any way disposing of, without the consent of the other party in writing, or an order of a judicial authority, any property, except in the usual course of business or for customary and usual household expenses or for reasonable attorney's fees in connection with the divorce;
- Prevents the concealment of any asset; and
- Prevents changes to any medical, dental or hospital insurance plan, or life insurance beneficiaries;
- Prohibits either party from trying to remove absent a court order the other party from using the marital residence as long as they are currently living together; and
- Prohibits any unreasonable borrowing against any asset, credit line or on credit cards.
That is a summary of the Automatic Orders. The next article in this series will discuss how to pick the right attorney.
If I can be of any help or answer any questions on this topic or any other please call Bayer & Black, P.C. at 203-762-0751 to schedule a time to talk.