Is a Restraining Order Necessary During a Divorce Case in Michigan?
It’s an unfortunate reality that divorces often get out of hand.
Sometimes, personal safety issues occur when one party loses control or is alleged to have done so, and the topic of restraining orders comes up. But personal safety isn’t the only reason restraining orders might be used during a divorce.
Common Uses of Restraining Orders in Divorces
The common conception of restraining orders is that they’re issued to protect another person from harm. However, in divorce cases, they’re typically known as mutual restraining orders and are used for many nonviolent purposes. These restraining orders don’t typically carry the same stigma as those for protection against violence.
Spouses frequently fight hard over the custody of their children. In the worst-case scenario, the stress of a prolonged custody battle can cause one parent to overstep their bounds. A restraining order can limit the parents to agreed-upon custody arrangements.
Married couples acquire all manner of property and assets during their time together. It’s therefore difficult for spouses to relinquish certain valuables, which can lead to impermissible actions like:
- Hiding assets
- Damaging or altering marital assets
- Selling or gifting marital assets
- Transferring properties of marital assets
Common marital assets include:
- Real estate
- Club memberships
A restraining order keeps these and other belongings off-limits until asset division is complete.
The funds that couples build during their marriage are considered marital property. They’re typically stored in joint checking or savings accounts. A restraining order can help keep them secure.
A mutual restraining order can also prohibit both parties from using their credit accounts. Neither spouse will be allowed to acquire more credit, cancel credit cards, rack up more debt, or alter existing debt.
Couples with insurance often file for restraining orders to prevent one another from making material changes to existing insurance policies, such as life, health, and homeowners insurance. Material changes might include the naming of a new beneficiary or the addition of coverage.
If either or both spouses have retirement or pension plans, they can agree upon a restraining order that prohibits them from touching their accounts, including:
- Redeeming funds
- Obstructing or encumbering the plan in any way
- Transferring the funds to another account
In these cases, the restraining order will also prevent both parties from changing their beneficiary designations.
Mail and Communications
Mutual restraining orders keep spouses from destroying one another’s mail or preventing it from being received. Other forms of communication are also protected, such as answering machine messages, voicemails, and emails.
If you’re planning a divorce, know that you can protect what’s rightfully yours with a little preparation. Restraining orders can protect life and limb, but in the context of a divorce, they can also help protect the future of both parties and their children.
Get an Experienced Divorce Attorney on Your Side
Do you need help resolving a restraining order issue? Contact Gucciardo Family Law to speak with a divorce attorney who cares about your interests and knows how to get results.
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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.
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