Perhaps one of the most stressful times during a divorce is the time between filing for divorce and when the divorce is actually finalized. A lot divorcing couples find this intermediate period stressful due to the level of uncertainty that comes with it. You may be asking yourself: What do I do now? Is there anything I should not do? The Automatic Orders in a divorce proceeding govern the transitional period between filing for divorce actually being divorced.
The Automatic Orders are exactly what they suggest: they are Orders of the Court that go into place automatically upon filing for divorce. You do not need to appear in Court or go before a Judge for the Automatic Orders to take effect. The party filing for divorce will put on notice of the Automatic Orders when he or she files for divorce and the opposing party will be served a copy of the Automatic Orders with the Complaint and Summons.
The Automatic Orders govern two aspects of a divorce: custody and finances.
When it comes to custody, the purpose of the Automatic Order is to ensure that children are not withheld from either parent and that both parents continue to have parenting time while the divorce is still pending. Under the Automatic Orders, parents living in separate residences during a divorce are obligated to facilitate continuing contact between the children and both parents. This means that neither parent can be denied parenting time simply because he or she moved out of the marital home while the divorce is still pending. Similarly, the Automatic Orders forbid either parent from permanently removing children from the State of Connecticut absent a Court Order or a written agreement between the parties.
In terms of finances, the purpose of the Automatic Orders is to make sure that the parties maintain the status quo when it comes to their financial situation. Upon filing for divorce, each party is required to continue to maintain the finances as they were maintained during the marriage. Parties to a divorce cannot conceal, sell, or transfer assets once either party files for divorce. Likewise, neither party can incur unreasonable debts during a pending divorce.
Most notably, per the Automatic Orders, a party cannot “cut off” his or her spouse from accessing the finances while a divorce is still pending. If a party is financially dependent on the other party during the marriage, then the party that supports the family financially must continue to do so until new financial Orders are entered by the court. Under the Automatic Orders, both parties must continue to have access to bank accounts, credit cards, and even health insurance until the divorced is finalized and new Orders enter.
Lastly, while either party is permitted to move out of the marital residence if he or she chooses to do so, neither party can force the other to leave the marital residence or deny him or her access to the home unless certain circumstances occur.
Although the Automatic Orders do not require parties to go to Court or to appear in front of a Judge, the are still Orders of the Court and both parties must comply with the Automatic Orders until new Orders take effect. Parties that violate the Automatic Order may be found in Contempt of Court and ordered to pay attorney’s fees incurred by the other party.
Whether it’s navigating custody or maintaining your finances while your divorce is still pending, our experienced attorneys at Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie are here to help you every step of the way.