How Do I Protect Myself Financially In A Divorce – Getting A Financial Restraining Order in Ontario
A restraining order isn’t just designed to prevent and protect against physical abuse and stalking. You can, in fact, have what’s called a ‘financial restraining order’ which is used in cases of divorce.
While the restraining order most of us probably think of when we hear the term would protect health and safety, this other type of restraining order deals with finances and helps to preserve one’s interests in family assets pending divorce.
A financial restraining order in an Ontario divorce is used against a former partner or spouse to protect financial assets from being misused, wasted, or hidden. It is only a temporary financial restraining order, however, and is meant to carry one through the divorce proceedings, issued near the beginning of the process.
How to get a restraining order in Ontario is to petition the court. They will most likely provide one which can provide a spouse with the peace of mind in knowing that the other person won’t purposefully misuse or redirect funds in an attempt to limit your entitlement.
Who Gets A Restraining Order And What Does It Prevent Divorcing Spouses From
A restraining order in a divorce is typically granted in cases where there are a high amount of assets. That said, spouses at any income level can petition for a temporary financial restraining order in Ontario and certainly benefit from it.
The sorts of things that a restraining order prevents divorcing spouses from doing are numerous. From closing bank accounts to transferring funds and finances into hidden accounts, it helps maintain an accurate view of what’s going on with the other spouse’s finances.
A temporary financial restraining order will also prevent reckless spending on unnecessary purchases, prohibit the purposeful destroying of property, prohibit giving away money or assets to family and friends, and will prevent the selling of expensive assets such as real estate, motor vehicles, and the like.
Something else it will do is prevent the other spouse from changing the beneficiaries on life insurance and health insurance policies, ensuring that you can maintain these benefits until a divorce is granted and an alternative arrangement from a court document is established.
A restraining order in this capacity is a step you can take to ensure a divorcing spouse does not withhold financial information from the courts.
When Do You Need To Request A Financial Restraining Order?
Divorce can make a spouse behave in a way that is malicious and manipulative. It is best to have a financial restraining order during divorce if your spouse has a history of or is currently showing behaviours that could be described as vengeful or manipulative as it relates to money.
Examples from the past or present might include using money as a means of controlling your behaviour, hiding bank accounts or assets from you if they have lied about their income or concealed funds if they have opened new bank accounts without your knowledge, if they’ve underreported business revenue or undervalued assets, or if they’ve attempted to remove you from joint bank accounts without your knowledge. These can all be seen as red flags to file a restraining order.
There are also other behaviours to watch for that are also signs you will want to request a restraining order. If they have intentionally destroyed marital property. If you have discovered them spending money on a substance abuse problem, addiction, or an affair. If they are loaning money or property to family and friends. If they are making changes to estate planning documents without your knowledge. These are all signs that your spouse is making moves to essentially hide aspects of their financial assets from you.
Getting Legal Advice in Ontario
Divorce has long-lasting financial consequences for both parties. It is a process that warrants intensive scrutiny on both sides to ensure your interests are being respected. A divorce lawyer in Ontario can certainly assist in protecting your rights and financial interests. Keep in mind, if you don’t protect your assets in a divorce in Ontario, no one else is going to. If your spouse wants to be particularly vindictive, you want to have the right legal advice at your side to know how to move forward.
If you are getting a divorce and you think a financial restraining order is in your best interest, remember that it goes both ways. An order also prevents you from making similar financial transactions, subjecting you to the same rules and limitations. This isn’t to say you can’t use a joint financial account to buy groceries and pay monthly utility bills. However, any non-ordinary spending will likely be scrutinized and you’re placed under the same expectation of behaviour as your spouse.
If you aren’t sure where to begin in how to get a restraining order in Ontario or how to protect your assets in a divorce, speak with a lawyer. You won’t regret having someone highly experienced with divorces look over your circumstances and advise you on what’s best according to your objectives for the proceedings. A free, confidential consultation is where it starts. You can lay out the full details of your divorce and receive input on what the next steps are. Connect with a divorce lawyer to learn more.