A Summons is issued upon the commencement of every dissolution of marriage action and include automatic temporary restraining orders (or “ATROs”) that are set forth on the second page of the form. The ATROs take effect against the parties depending on your filing status as petitioner or respondent. If you are the petitioner then the ATROs take effect when the petition is filed and a summons is issued. If you are the respondent then the ATROs take effect when he or she is personally served or waives and accepts service of the petition. The orders remain in effect until a final judgment is entered in the case, the petition is dismissed, or further order of the court or written agreement of the parties.
Regardless of your filing status, once the orders issues BOTH parties are temporary restrained from the following conduct:
- Removing any minor child of the parties from California or applying for a new or replacement passport for any child without the other party’s written consent or court order.
- Cashing, borrowing against, canceling, transferring, disposing of, or changing the beneficiaries of any insurance or other coverage, including life, health, automobile, and disability, held for the benefit of the parties or their minor children.
- Transferring, encumbering, hypothecating, concealing, disposing of, or changing the beneficiaries of any real or personal property without a court order or written consent except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life.
- Creating or modifying a nonprobate transfer in a manner that affects the disposition of property subject to the transfer, without a court order or written consent.
Failure to comply with these orders may result in harsh penalties such as modifications to custody orders that limit or change your contact and rights, awarding an entire community asset to the other spouse or being assigned the entire community debt. Therefore, it is important you review the orders with your attorney and understand the type of conduct that is restricted.
If there is any doubt as to whether a certain type of conduct falls under the protection of these orders, consult with an attorney before taking action. When in doubt, it is good practice to obtain an agreement from the opposing party or counsel before taking action.