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Dissolution Action Stays: Putting a Freeze on Your Assets

At the commencement of a divorce proceeding, there may be a lot of confusion between the couple. They may not know what the next steps are and what they may or may not do now that a divorce is underway. There are a few different measures that take place after the filing for a divorce, which help protect spouses from their ex-partners and certain actions that the ex-partner can take to injure the other physically or financially. A “dissolution action stay” is a legal remedy and type of temporary restraining order, that upon the filing of a divorce, restrains both parties from being able to do three things.

1. A Freeze on Financial Marital Assets

First, the restraining order applies to the marital property of both spouses. The order requires a financial freeze on all marital property to ensure that neither spouse can destroy, transfer, spend, damage, dispose of, hide, or sell any property that falls within the marital scope. The order, however, does not put an entire freeze on the financial flow of bank accounts and other property used in the usual course of business. Both parties still need access to their credit cards, bank accounts, cars, homes, and other necessities of life to maintain the status quo. The purpose of this restraining order is to ensure that high-value assets do not go missing, are sold, or destroyed before the Court can partition the marital property as a result of the dissolution of marriage. The other purpose is to protect the spouse with the least amount of control over the financial marital property; this is extremely important if one of the spouses has been the sole breadwinner while the other spouse was the homemaker. Financial equity is the most important aspect of property division.

2. A Freeze on Physical Violence or the Threat of Physical Violence

Next, the restraining order can be used to physically protect both parties. Both parties may not physically abuse, harass, stalk, intimidate, or interfere with the other's personal liberties once the commencement of the divorce proceedings. This is important as tensions are high during a divorce and it is necessary that both parties feel safe mentally, physically, and emotionally. Generally, spouses, after years of marriage, know the other's strengths and weaknesses and the restraining order limits the amount of damage and harm between spouses. This type of order is also known as an Order of Protection in the domestic violence context.

3. A Freeze on the Movement of Minor Children

Finally, the restraining order may apply to minor children and the ability of either party to remove the child or children from Illinois. This provision ensures that the child remains in the same or similar location to ensure that divorcing spouses have custody and visitation rights of the children before the Court's custody proceedings. Maintaining the child in Illinois, and ensuring that neither parent can remove the child from the state, will make sure that the child maintains the life that he/she is accustomed to and is not sent out of the state or out of the country as a manner to harm the other spouse.

The dissolution action stays are extremely important at the outset of a divorce, and help delineate the boundaries and rules at the beginning of the proceedings. Respecting the dissolution action stay is the best way to maintain a respectful relationship between you and your ex-partner. If you are currently considering a divorce, please contact one of our experienced Naperville family law attorneys who will help guide you through the divorce process and any questions you may have about the effect that a dissolution action stay will have on your life.

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