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Freezing Assets During Divorce: What You Need to Know About TROs

When you’re going through a divorce, tensions are likely running high. You may be concerned that your husband will modify assets as a way to harm you or prevent you from getting everything to which you’re legally entitled. Luckily there are legal protections to prevent this from happening. When filing for divorce in Texas, your divorce petition can include a temporary restraining order, or TRO, for freezing assets during divorce.

A TRO will go into effect when the divorce petition is filed and last for two weeks. The TRO prevents either spouse from modifying the financial state of the marriage in any substantive way. This means that while the TRO is in place, neither spouse can sell, transfer, or borrow against property; change the beneficiaries on insurance policies, accounts, or wills; or divest of assets. Even in cases where there is no great fear of malicious activity, TROs can help streamline the process and save time later by keeping assets as they are for easier assessment and less confusion.

While the TRO is designed for freezing assets during divorce, each spouse can still spend money as necessary for living and business expenses within reason. The court can determine what falls under reasonable expenses to keep things fair.

Some Texas counties, including Dallas County, include a TRO known as a Standing Order in every divorce petition. You will want to find out the specifics on how your county handles TROs when discussing your divorce petition with your attorney.

The initial temporary restraining order is just that – temporary. There will be a hearing to decide whether or not the order needs to be enforced for the freezing of assets during the whole divorce proceding. Oftentimes both parties agree to the specifics of restraining orders through negotiations, but sometimes a hearing will be needed so that a judge may decide on how assets will be handled during the divorce. This hearing will happen during the first few weeks of the divorce. If you and your spouse cannot agree on temporary provisions for spousal support, child support, child custody, and use of property, the judge will determine these during the temporary orders hearing.

Freezing assets during divorce is common and in many counties automatic, so you can rest easy knowing that your financial safety is protected during the divorce proceedings. If your husband violates the TRO and any temporary orders determined during the hearing, he can face very real legal consequences. Once you and your attorney have filed for divorce and the TRO is in place, it’s time to discuss your financial position with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to assess your situation and determine the best way to reach a favorable financial outcome going forward.

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