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Can I stop my spouse from destroying assets?

The unfortunate truth is that not all Florida divorces can be harmonious; in fact, they can bring out the worst in people. Some spouses, faced with the impending division of their property, will find ways to spend, destroy or squander as many of their assets as possible so that their soon-to-be ex does not receive a share. If you fear your spouse may engage in such destruction, you can take some action to try and stop it from happening.

Forbes explains that if you suspect your assets are at risk, you can file for a court order known as an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO). An ATRO serves a number of functions, including stopping both spouses from altering the financial state of the marriage during the progression of the divorce. This means your spouse cannot sell off assets and property until the divorce is completed.

Spouses who want an ATRO should consider discussing it with an attorney as soon as possible because it takes little time for a person to destroy or ruin an asset. In fact, a lot of financial ruin can occur before an ATRO can go into effect. Also, ATROs are not automatic parts of divorce cases. You might think your spouse is barred from transferring ownership of an asset or spending it by virtue of filing for divorce, but no such restriction may be in place. In such a case, you or your attorney would have to request an ATRO. 

Even if the ATRO is unable to stop the destruction of assets you are entitled to, it is still important to keep records that can show your ex spent or destroyed a marital asset. A judge might rule that you are entitled to a greater share of the remaining assets as a result. Since divorce cases will vary greatly, you should keep in mind that this article is not written to provide any legal advice. It is only intended for the educational benefit of the reader.