One of the least understood and most important actions when filing for divorce in Oklahoma is the automatic temporary injunction.
When you want to file for divorce in Oklahoma, one of the spouses must file a Petition in an Oklahoma family court to begin the process. A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is also known as a Petition for Divorce. The filing and service of an Oklahoma divorce petition, a petition for legal separation, or an annulment triggers a number of possible court orders — including but not limited to an automatic temporary injunction.
What an Automatic Temporary Injunction Does
An immediate temporary injunction is always issued by the court in an Oklahoma divorce. It is mandatory, although certain parts of it may be waived. Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 110
The automatic temporary injunction covers assets, children, support, and expenses. It generally stays in effect until a final divorce decree is issued by the court.
The order acts to freeze all marital assets other than regular day-to-day expenditures. This automatic temporary injunction is required by law in Oklahoma and is meant to protect both parties.
- It prevents either party from taking, selling, encumbering, concealing, or disposing with any marital property, retirement accounts, or insurance policies without the written consent of the other party or an order from the court.
- It can also prevent either party from destroying or damaging property or electronically stored communications or materials.
- The injunction also prevents the parties from making any change to beneficiary designations on all financial documents and accounts.
- It also prevents either party from opening or diverting mail addressed to the other party.
- It prohibits the signing or endorsing of the other party’s name on any negotiable instrument such as a check, tax refunds, insurance payments, or dividends.
- It requires the parties to cooperate with each other in the filing of insurance claims and to maintain existing health, property, life, and other insurance that the individual is presently carrying on any member of the family.
- Finally, it prohibits either party from attempting to negotiate any negotiable instruments payable to either party without the personal signature of the other party.
These temporary orders also affect children of the marriage. In essence, the parents are prohibited from disturbing the peace of the other party or of the children from the marriage. That allows the other party and the children to maintain an environment free of harassment.
The injunction prohibits both parties from disrupting or withdrawing their children from school or day care.
In addition, the order prevents both parties from hiding their children from the other party. Many parents worry that the other party to a divorce will take the children without their knowledge. These orders are meant to allay that fear.
Finally, the injunction prohibits both parents from removing their children from the court’s jurisdiction for anything other than vacations of two weeks or less duration, without the prior written consent of the other party. The other party is not permitted to unreasonably withhold their consent.
Taxes and Other Documents
Because divorce is also a division of assets and liabilities between the parties, the automatic temporary injunction also requires that both parties produce certain financial documents.
Therefore, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties in writing, the parties must deliver the following documents to each other within 30 days of the service of the petition or the filing of the response to the petition by the other party, whichever is earlier:
- Two years of federal and state tax returns along with all supporting documentation,
- Pay stubs from the last two months,
- The last six months of bank statements, whether the account is held individually, jointly, or in the name of another for the benefit of one of the parties or for the benefit of a minor child,
- Documentation regarding the cost and nature of available health insurance coverage for the benefit of either party or any minor child of the parties,
- Documentation regarding the cost and nature of employment or education-related childcare expenses incurred for the benefit of any minor child of the parties, and
- Documentation regarding all debts in the name of either party individually or jointly, showing the most recent balance due and payment terms.
An automatic temporary injunction is quite expansive. Understanding what you may and may not do is important in the process. Bring your questions and concerns to a Tulsa family law attorney.
Free Consultation with a Tulsa Family Law Attorney
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