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ATROs may be good option for divorcing Texas couples

Texas couples going through a divorce may not be familiar with the process of filing an automatic temporary restraining order, but it's one way to help the settlement run much more smoothly.

An ATRO is a relatively new way to protect each party's assets in a divorce. Although restraining orders are usually associated with protection against a violent or dangerous individual, an ATRO in a divorce case setting creates a controlled atmosphere where both spouses have protection. The action facilitates the division of property and assets by preventing divorcing spouses from changing policy beneficiaries on documents including wills and retirement accounts, changing bank accounts, selling or borrowing the other spouse's insurance and more.

Having frozen assets can protect the spouse who had less financial control during the marriage because it creates equal ground. In addition, spouses benefit because financial advisers will be aware of every detail once the divorce process begins, which will save their clients valuable time and money.

Violations of an ATRO by either spouse can have legal ramification that have the possibility to be serious. However, ATROs do allow spending for usual business or paying lawyer fees.

Alterations to the ATRO can be made by the court upon agreement of both parties. Although some ATROs take effect immediately upon filing in a few states, each state has its own rules about ATROs and whether they are required. Divorcing couples should take the time to learn more about ATROs before filing for one. In addition, after filing for an ATRO, insurance companies, banks and stock brokers should be notified.

Attorneys and divorce teams also can help with uncertainties surrounding ATROs if couples find the process confusing.

Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: Here's What You Need to Know About ATROs," Jeff Landers, July 11, 2012

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