Money is undoubtedly a divisive issue. It can create or exacerbate trust issues between two people and it can be the thing standing in between them when they are trying to resolve a complicated situation. This is why money is often at the root of many contentious divorces.
One main concern you might have in relation to money if you are considering divorce is what will happen to that money between the time you file for divorce and the finalization of a divorce settlement. This can be particularly troubling there is a lot of money at stake and you don’t trust your spouse or if he or she has always had control of the marital finances. However, you can protect these assets by freezing them.
Basically speaking, an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order, or ATRO, prohibits either person from spending or withdrawing money in a way that would change the status quo of the marriage. As explained in this Forbes article, these orders help to freeze assets so that they cannot be sold, modified, destroyed or hidden. By keeping these assets intact, both parties can be working with current, accurate financial information to pursue a fair settlement.
However, it should be noted that state laws vary when it comes to when and how these court orders to freeze assets can be secured, and even what they are called. This means that he process can be different for couples who file for divorce right here in Florida than it is for couples who file for divorce elsewhere.
It should also be noted that while freezing accounts can protect the money you have in shared accounts, you may find that your soon-to-be ex-spouses is still spending a lot of money from other accounts you may not know about. It is also possible that he or she is hiding money or property to shield them from distribution.
Considering all that is at stake in high net worth divorces, it can be crucial that you speak with an attorney sooner rather than later to discuss your finances and learn ways to protect the marital assets.