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What is an ATRO?

If you and your spouse are separating or filing for divorce in Clinton Township, Michigan, it is natural to be concerned about the balances in your joint accounts and other marital assets. Since they are accessible by both of you, you may believe you cannot prevent your spouse from withdrawing money, transferring it to a private account or borrowing against a marital property. However, these acts have the potential to reduce the amount left to be equitably divided. An Automatic Temporary Restraining Order, or ATRO, is a court order that protects marital property from this type of action.

Forbes magazine explains that an ATRO freezes marital assets so that they can be more easily evaluated for equitable division. The clarity this provides may save you and your spouse money in the long run by reducing costs associated with the assessment of your assets and future litigation. Not only does an ATRO involve bank accounts, it also typically affects the following:

  •          Real estate
  •          Insurance
  •          Stocks
  •          Retirement accounts

You are allowed to access funds to cover attorney fees and your usual expenses, although the court may rule against the usage of assets in certain circumstances. The ATRO is typically filed by your attorney along with the other divorce papers. It is a legal document that neither you nor your spouse may violate. However, it can be modified by the court if the terms are agreed upon by both of you.

This article is intended to provide information about ATROs, but it is not all-inclusive and should not be taken as legal advice.

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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