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Can A Divorce Restraining Order Prevent Me From Doing My Job?

As soon as divorce is filed in Ohio, an administrative temporary restraining order takes effect. The purpose of the restraining order is to prevent either spouse from substantially affecting assets that will be subject to division during the divorce process.

While the specifics vary from county to county, the divorce restraining order typically stops spouses from:

  • Selling or gifting assets
  • Making large purchases or incurring debt
  • Cashing in or withdrawing from retirement accounts, investment accounts and other accounts

For most couples going through a divorce, adhering to the court order makes sense. However, in complex cases, this order creates an interesting hurdle that needs to be considered carefully.

My Work Requires Buying And Selling

What if your work depends on you doing exactly what the divorce restraining order says not to do? For example, perhaps you are a real estate investor. Are you supposed to stop doing that while the divorce is in progress? If you have the opportunity to buy a property that you believe will be a lucrative investment, are you supposed to pass it up? If the time is right for you to sell a property, are you supposed to hold onto it? The same questions apply to people who invest in stocks and securities.

For investors and entrepreneurs going through a divorce, the restrictions put in place by the administrative temporary restraining order may not make sense. However, since the restraining order goes into effect automatically, you have no way to stop it. Having it removed or cancelled may not be possible either, at least until the divorce is finalized. That does not leave a lot of options.

Can I Ignore The Divorce Restraining Order?

While ignoring a court order is not advisable, there is one important caveat that comes with most administrative temporary restraining orders: spouses are typically allowed to buy, sell and manage finances as they have done throughout their marriage. The goal of the order is to maintain the status quo and protect assets. For investors and entrepreneurs, the status quo may very well involve making some big transactions that would set off red flags in other divorce cases.

Ultimately, people in this situation should work with an attorney who understands how investors and entrepreneurs make their living, and who can help them take steps to continue to do so during the divorce.


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