Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders freeze the estate

Restraining orders have an ominous sound to them because of the association with assault and physical or psychological abuse. However, New York State and others utilize s (ATROS) when a couple files for divorce. The general premise is to have the couple put their financials in a holding pattern while the details of the divorce are addressed.

Common activities divorcing couples cannot engage in include:

  • Selling or transferring assets
  • Opening new bank accounts
  • Hiding or destroying assets
  • Changing the names on insurance policies
  • Altering or hiding retirement accounts

ATROS also applies to children here in New York State. This means that parents cannot travel outside the state without approval from the other parent. However, this may be modified to fit the needs of the family.

What is exempt from ATROS?

A few financial activities are not covered:

Drafting a will: While financial and insurance documents cannot be changed, an individual can change or draft a will.

Conducting business: If an individual buys and sells assets as an avenue for earning income, they may continue to do so.

Pay for legal counsel: This is a new expense but exempted out of necessity. What happens if a spouse violates ATROS?

ATROS are designed to protect both parties equally. Violating this order can lead to serious legal difficulty.

Each case is unique

Each divorce is different, so it is advisable to work closely with an attorney. Large estates and complex estates pose particular challenges because they require thorough scrutiny to determine an equitable arrangement. While ATROS can be altered throughout the process, other orders take over once the divorce is finalized.

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Keith B. Schulefand, Esq.
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Williamsville, NY 14221

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