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What is the Automatic Restraining Order (Supplemental Probate Court Rule 411)?

In addition to beginning the litigation process, immediately upon the filing of a Complaint for Divorce, the Plaintiff (person who filed the Complaint) is restrained from taking specific actions with respect to their assets and liabilities. Along with the Summons the Court will provide to the Plaintiff, a Notice describing the Rule 411 Automatic Restraining Order. A sample Notice describing the Rule 411 Automatic Restraining Order is available here.

Upon the service of the Complaint and Summons on the other party (the Defendant), they too become restrained by Rule 411. Generally Rule 411 prohibits either party from
a. selling, hiding, encumbering or disposing of any personal property or real property in which either of you have an interest (except for in the case of specific exceptions),
b. incurring any further debt that would burden the credit of the other spouse (such as making charges on joint credit cards),
c. changing the beneficiary designation on any life insurance policy, pension or investment accounts, or
d. doing anything that changes your spouse or your children's coverage under medical, dental, life, automobile or disability insurance.

There are exceptions to Rule 411 which you should discuss with your attorney. Do not violate the Automatic Restraining Order or the Court may, and most likely will, order you to undo whatever action you took and sanction you for violating the Restraining Order.

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