For some people, divorce is a devastating blow. For others, it comes with a sense of relief. If you are one of those for whom your marriage was a constant struggle, you may look forward to the day in the near future when a judge finalizes the end of your marriage and you can move forward into a new life of freedom.
However, don't move too quickly toward that freedom. Until the judge's signature is on the paper, you may be under certain legal restrictions. In fact, Colorado family law allows a spouse to request temporary orders to maintain the status quo until permanent orders are in place. Because the statutes may vary from state to state and even from county to county, it is best to speak with an attorney to protect your rights.
Some stipulations in temporary orders
If you are unaware of the restrictions in place once you or your spouse file for divorce, you may find yourself in legal trouble. These restrictions are in place to prevent one spouse from retaliating against the other, for example by cleaning out the bank account or selling the house without the other's knowledge or approval.
Once your divorce proceedings stop, you may imagine it is like pushing a pause button. Because a divorce may go on for months or even longer, it is important to know if you will be restricted in any of these areas:
- Selling marital property, including real estate, vehicles or stocks
- Cancelling your health or auto insurance or removing your spouse from your policies
- Racking up credit card debt
- Making excessive purchases beyond basic needs like food and clothing
- Traveling out of state with the children
Even celebrities are under these restrictions. Nearly two years after their divorce, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are still locked in a custody battle over their six children. Because they have not resolved the matter, the courts prohibit Jolie from taking the children out of the country where she is scheduled to shoot a movie. Traveling with the children out of state, even for a Sunday visit to relatives, may require court approval.
If your divorce is especially contentious, your spouse may use such a violation to bring serious legal trouble upon you, including kidnapping charges that could destroy your chances for custody. If you have plans to travel with the children or to make any changes in the status quo, the best advice is to discuss it with your attorney. While your spouse may be willing to compromise, for your own protection, you may want to seek the court's permission.