When a California Court takes jurisdiction over divorce proceedings, the Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATROs) delineated in California Family Code Section 2040 remain in place until a judgment is entered. Essentially, the ATROs provide a matrix for handling assets during the divorce consisting of actions that are:
(1) prohibited without a court order;
(2) prohibited without consent of the other spouse;
(3) prohibited without notice to the court and the other spouse; and
(4) permissible without a court order or notice to the other spouse.
The ATROs, however, do not prevent a divorcing person from creating a new will, power of attorney, medical directive, and an unfunded trust. ATROs cover certain actions such as revoking a revocable trust, changing a beneficiary designation, and severing of a joint tenancy, which can be taken with only proper notice to the other spouse. The ATROs require court action when funding, creating, or modifying a nonprobate transfer without the other spouse's consent. Section 2040 of the Family Code provides a definition of nonprobate transfers to include a revocable trust, a financial institution payable on death designation, transfer on death deed, transfer on death of personal property, and a Totten trust.
To understand better what you can or cannot do with assets during a divorce, contact us today at (760) 918-5630.