Just Filed for Divorce? Honor the Preliminary Injunctions

divorce law

A quick note relating to COVID-19 and the Boulder County Court system: as of now, things are beginning to loosen up for the Court system and we aren’t seeing nearly the delays that have been occurring since March due to the pandemic. Most hearings are still remote, but more and more frequently people are showing up to Court (wearing facial coverings and practicing social distancing as much as possible). 

All this is to say that if you need to take any kind of legal action, at the moment, it is more than likely that it will be possible.  However, the Courts are still not as efficient as they were before the pandemic.  Please call our office at 303-449-1873 to set up a complimentary consultation with our team. Note that this is an ever-evolving situation and circumstances may change. 

When you or your spouse file for divorce, the other party will either sign joint papers, he/she will accept service, or he/she will be served. Upon any of those events happening, there are four “preliminary injunctions” that are activated.  These are essentially rules that both parties must follow in the interim between filing for divorce and finalizing it. They are: 

  1. Do not take minor children out of state without either the other party’s permission or a Court order. 
  2. Do not do anything extraordinary with marital finances.
  3. Do not disturb the peace of the other party. 
  4. Do not change any insurance coverages. 

The idea is to maintain the status quo for the duration of the divorce proceeding, and any violation of these injunctions will not be looked on favorably by the judge. 

Let’s look a little closer at what this means. 

Keep the Family at Home

If you must take the children out of state and the other party agrees to it, be sure that you get their agreement in writing and do not violate the terms of that arrangement. If you do, you could seriously jeopardize your ability to negotiate parenting time.  If the other party refuses to agree, you can request a Court hearing and allow the Judge to decide.

Marital Finances

This includes any shared money, such as joint checking or savings accounts, money that is in a trust owned by both parties, or other assets that legally belong to both people. It’s not uncommon for divorcing parties to feel animosity toward each other and want to take drastic financial action to put themselves in a better position for the divorce; say, one party decides to withdraw $20,000 from a joint savings account and hide it. Even sneakier, some people will withdraw money the day before they file for divorce — believe me, the judge will certainly take that kind of behavior into consideration. 

Maintain the Peace

No matter how emotional the situation gets, things will never get better when one party harasses the other. I’ve seen furious spouses harass each other through social media, text messages and by showing up unexpectedly in a way that upsets the children. This kind of behavior will only serve to enflame the other side and cause more strife. Avoid it.  Again, you could be cited for contempt if you violate this provision.

Leave Insurance Coverage in Place

Changing insurance coverage in the middle of a divorce is a nasty move. In some circumstances, health insurance can mean the difference between accessing life-saving treatments, and any tampering with the other party’s insurance — health, life, car, home, etc. — is not tolerated by the Court. 

You can avoid a lot of heartache and expense by maintaining a respectful distance from your spouse as you go through the divorce process. I know: easier said than done. At the very least, honor these Preliminary Injunctions and you’ll be on the right track.  If you don’t honor them, you run the risk of the other side citing you for contempt and requesting that the Court impose sanctions against you.

Getting divorced in Boulder County? Call us at 303-449-1873 to set up a complimentary consultation.

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