4 Actions to Avoid During Your Divorce

San Diego, CA – Couples who file for divorce sometimes are eager to move forward and start their lives anew as singles.

Even though you may have already “mentally uncoupled,” California law prohibits some actions until the divorce is final. Here are four to keep in mind as you await your divorce decree.
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Cleaning Out the Bank Account

Joint bank accounts are protected once you file for divorce, so don’t think you can empty all the money and go on a spending spree. In California, couples generally are prohibited from withdrawing more than half of the money from the account. If your withdrawals appear to exceed historic withdrawals for covering basic necessities, a judge could order that your spouse be reimbursed for the extra amount you withdrew.

You are allowed to use funds in joint bank accounts or other community property to pay an attorney to help you in your divorce proceeding, or to pay court costs.

Removing Your Spouse from Your Health Insurance

California bars spouses from canceling or changing insurance coverage during divorce proceedings. However, once you are divorced, you typically are required to remove your spouse from your health insurance.

State law also prohibits you from changing your beneficiary information on any insurance coverage, including life, health, auto or disability.

Taking Your Children Outside the State/Country

You must have written consent from your spouse or a court order to cross state lines with your children while your divorce is pending. This is designed to prevent one parent from traveling to another state or outside the country in an attempt to deny the other spouse access to the children.

You also can’t apply for new or replacement passports for your minor children without your spouse’s knowledge, or a court order.

Secretly Buying/Selling Property

You can’t sell or purchase real or personal property without your spouse’s knowledge while your divorce is pending.

These four actions are addressed in California’s Standard Family Law Restraining Orders, which are listed on the state’s Family Law Summons. These restraining orders go into effect as soon as the summons is issued, said San Diego divorce lawyer John Griffith.

California law requires you to give each other at least five business days’ notice when you plan to make any “extraordinary expenditures,” according to the Family Law Summons. You also must account to the court after having made the expenditures.

The Standard Family Law Restraining Orders will remain in effect throughout your divorce proceeding until you receive a final divorce decree, unless there is a court order that modifies them prior to the final decree.

Learn More

If you’re planning to file for divorce, an attorney who specializes in family law can help you navigate the process to ensure everything goes smoothly and you avoid taking actions that are prohibited.

Please call our office to schedule a consultation if you would like to learn more.

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