If you are going through a divorce, it is only natural to be concerned about your property, especially if you are afraid your ex will hide it, destroy it or sell it without your knowledge. You may have heard about people obtaining temporary orders regarding divorce topics such as child custody and child support. However, is it possible in Texas to obtain a temporary restraining order to protect your property in a divorce?
Texas law on temporary restraining orders for property
Under Texas law, once you file for divorce you can move the court to grant a temporary restraining order for the preservation of property. This means that your ex cannot sell, transfer, assign, mortgage, encumber or in any other way alienate you from your property. This applies to personal property, real property and intellectual property. It also applies to all property whether it is separate property or community property.
In addition, the court can stop your ex from taking on debt unrelated to legal expenses associated with the divorce proceedings. Also, a temporary restraining order can stop a spouse from taking any property out of a safe deposit box in the name of either spouse or both spouses. In addition, a spouse cannot cut off the other spouse’s water, electricity, gas, telephone, cable or any other contractual service. A temporary restraining order can stop a spouse from residing in a residence belonging to the other spouse or using a motor vehicle belonging to the other party.
What about liquid funds?
Texas law also protects monetary funds as well as physical property. A temporary restraining order can prevent a spouse from withdrawing funds from a bank account for any purpose or spending any funds in either spouse’s possession or control for any purpose. In addition, a temporary restraining order can prevent a spouse from withdrawing money from a retirement account or pension or borrowing money from a retirement account or pension.
Similarly, a temporary restraining order can prevent a spouse from withdrawing or borrowing funds from the cash surrender value of a life insurance policy on either spouse or their child or changing the beneficiary on a life insurance policy. In addition, a temporary restraining order can keep a spouse from cancelling, changing, or failing to renew or pay premiums on insurance policies affecting the spouses’ and any child’s property or person.
In addition, a temporary restraining order can prevent a spouse from taking steps to limit or end credit accounts in the name of the other spouse. It can also stop a spouse from discontinuing or reducing withholdings for federal income taxes on the other spouse’s paychecks. In addition, a temporary restraining order can stop a spouse from changing, throwing away or destroying financial records.
Can temporary restraining orders protect communications?
Temporary restraining orders can also stop a spouse from opening or diverting mail or email or any other types of electronic communications addressed to the other spouse. Also, a temporary restraining order can stop a spouse from forging the other spouse’s name on a check, payment, dividend or any other negotiable instrument payable to the other spouse.
In addition, a temporary restraining order can stop a spouse from changing, throwing away or destroying electronic communications such as email, texts, videos or chats. Temporary restraining orders can also prevent a spouse from deleting data from the other spouse’s or a child’s social network accounts. Temporary restraining orders can keep a spouse from using the other spouse’s passwords or personal identification numbers to access email accounts, financial accounts and social media accounts.
What can’t a temporary restraining order do?
There are limits to what a temporary restraining order can do. First, it cannot stop a spouse from occupying his or her own residence. In addition, spouses must be allowed to spend money for reasonable and necessary living expenses. Finally, a temporary restraining order cannot stop a spouse from doing what is reasonable and necessary to conduct their normal business and job duties.
Learn more about property rights in a divorce
Divorce can be a trying time, especially when property is being disputed. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s website on divorce may be a useful resource for those who want to learn more about this topic.