You may hear the term “ATROs” used frequently during your family law matter and likely have no idea what the word means. “ATROs” is an acronym that stands for Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders, and they apply in every divorce, domestic partnership dissolution, legal separation, and paternity case filed in California. The best non-legal description I have ever heard is that they are “legal niceties.”
The ATROs themselves are found on the second page of the Summons. Divorces, domestic partnership dissolutions, and legal separations all have the same ATROs, and paternity cases have their own set of ATROs. The Petitioner (the party who opens the case and files first) is bound by the ATROs as soon as he or she files the Petition and Summons. The Respondent is required to abide by the ATROs after being served with the Petition and Summons.
First and foremost, it is extremely important that each litigant read the second page of the Summons very carefully and follow the orders. Ignorance is not an excuse, and Petitioners actually declare under penalty of perjury that they have read and understood the ATROs. In a nutshell, neither party can remove the minor children involved in the proceeding from California without the other parent’s permission. Additionally, in a legal separation or dissolution case, neither party can remove the other from his or her insurance policies. There can be no closing of bank accounts, destroying or hiding of assets, or other such behavior. In short, you need to treat the other party and your assets with respect and honesty-legal niceties.
The ATROs are designed to protect both parties, and violating these orders, whether or not intentional, can have very severe consequences. For further information, please contact me to set up a consultation to discuss your personal case.