When a divorce action is filed, Standard Family Law Restraining Orders (also commonly referred to as Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders or “ATRO’s”) take effect immediately. There are several important aspects of these restraining orders, but for now this post concentrates on the authorization within those restraining orders which can assist you in paying for the divorce.
The restraining orders provide that you may sell community property, quasi-community property or your separate property to assist you in paying for a lawyer or court costs. Notice of the intention to sell or otherwise liquidate such assets should be given to your spouse and his/her lawyer. While your use of a community or quasi-community asset will be charged against your share of the property in the divorce (thereby depleting your share of the community), it does allows you to gain access to legal representation. The sale of an asset is not the only means of obtaining funds to pay for a lawyer, but it is the quickest and easiest. There are provisions in the law to seek a court order from your spouse to pay some of your attorney’s fees, but this costs money and takes time to actually obtain a hearing date; however, an order against your spouse means your share of the community is not depleted. The options on how to pay for your divorce should be carefully reviewed with a lawyer to determine the best approach in your situation.