In the State of California, immediately upon filing a divorce, both spouses or domestic partners are restrained from:
1. Removing the minor child or children of the parties, if any, from the state without the prior written consent of the other party or an order of the court;
2. 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 and their minor child or children;
3. Transferring, encumbering, hypothecating, concealing, or in any way disposing of any property, real or personal, whether community, quasi-community, or separate, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life; and
4. Creating a nonprobate transfer or modifying a nonprobate transfer in a manner that affects the disposition of property subject to the transfer, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court. Before revocation of a nonprobate transfer can take effect or a right of survivorship to property can be eliminated, notice of the change must be filed and served on the other party.
Further, upon filing for a divorce, the standard Family Law Restraining Orders include a provision that you must notify each other of any proposed extraordinary expenditures at least five business days prior to incurring these extraordinary expenditures and account to the court for all extraordinary expenditures made after these restraining orders are effective. However, you may use community property, quasi-community property, or your own separate property to pay an attorney to help you or to pay court costs.
Perhaps the most important of these Restraining Orders is the fact that immediately upon filing a divorce and serving the other parent, neither parent is allowed to remove the minor children from the State of California without the prior written consent of the other parent or the order of the court. Too many times, before a divorce if filed, one of the parents leaves the state with the child or children. The simple filing of divorce prevents that. Further, the mere filing of divorce does not require that both parties proceed, it merely puts in place the standard Family Law Restraining Orders. The filing fee is $435. It is far more expensive to hire investigators, attorneys or other professionals to track down children and assert jurisdiction in other states. A simple filing of divorce is one of those examples where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Richard A. Dinnebier