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The 2 main types of restraining orders used in divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2023 | Divorce

Oftentimes, marriages fail because of a lack of trust and communication. That being said, trust and communication are likely to be at an all time low when a Washington couple decides to file for divorce. One or both parties may need to use restraining orders in order to peacefully proceed.

There are two types of restraining orders that are used in a divorce. One is automatically granted to both parties by the court while the other must be requested.

Automatic temporary restraining orders

As soon as a divorce is filed, both spouses are legally constrained from taking certain actions by an automatic temporary restraining order, or ATRO. The court issues ATROs so that divorcing parties cannot make changes that would impact their child custody or property division negotiations later on. For example, a divorcing spouse cannot:

  • Close a joint bank account
  • Sell valuable property
  • Change their will
  • Move children out of the state
  • Modify life insurance beneficiaries

Domestic violence restraining orders

A domestic violence restraining order is a totally different type of sanction, and it must be requested. If your spouse was physically violent towards you or your children, you should petition the court for one.

If approved, a temporary domestic violence restraining order can be granted automatically. While a restraining order can’t physically stop your spouse from coming near you or contacting you, it can provide a powerful disincentive. That’s because violating the terms of a retraining order can result in your spouse’s arrest.

Restraining orders can impact divorce proceedings

If you and your spouse are only subject to the standard ATRO, the two of you may have more options when it comes to mediating property division and child custody arrangements. On the other hand, mediation is usually not possible when there is a domestic violence restraining order in place. Your and your children’s safety is the most important factor when it comes to making a decision to get a restraining order.