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  • Writer's pictureJay Ingrum

Protecting Your Rights: A Guide to Initial Temporary Injunctions in Divorce Proceedings


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When a party files for legal separation or divorce upon fault grounds, not irreconcilable differences, Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-4-106(d) applies and certain temporary injunctions or restraining orders go into effect against both parties and are served upon each party with the complaint. These injunctions or restraining orders remain in effect until a final decree of divorce or order of legal separation is entered, the petition is dismissed, the parties reach an agreement or until the court modifies or dissolves the injunctions or restraining orders. Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-4-106(d) provides the following injunctions or restraining orders:


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  1. A) An injunction restraining and enjoining both parties from transferring, assigning, borrowing against, concealing or in any way dissipating or disposing, without the consent of the other party or an order of the court, of any marital property.

  2. An injunction restraining and enjoining both parties from voluntarily canceling, modifying, terminating, assigning, or allowing to lapse for nonpayment of premiums, any insurance policy, including but not limited to, life, health, disability, homeowners, renters, and automobile, where such insurance policy provides coverage to either of the parties or the children, or that names either of the parties or the children as beneficiaries without the consent of the other party or an order of the court. “Modifying” includes any change in beneficiary status. Bottom Line = You can’t cancel or modify any insurance policy.

  3. An injunction restraining both parties from harassing, threatening, assaulting or abusing the other and from making disparaging remarks about the other party to or in the presence of any children of the parties or to either party’s employer. Bottom Line = You can’t harass or bully your spouse and you can’t commit domestic assault against your spouse, and you can’t make derogatory comments about your spouse to your children.

  4. An injunction restraining and enjoining both parties from hiding, destroying or spoiling, in whole or in part, any evidence electronically stored or on computer hard drives or other memory storage devices. Bottom Line = You can’t try to cover your tracks for anything you have been doing online or on your computer, Ipad, or smart phone by deleting things. This would include your activities on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. By the way, even if you delete things from your electronic devices the information is still there and can be found by a computer forensic specialist, so don’t even try it.

  5. An injunction restraining both parties from relocating any children of the parties outside the state of Tennessee, or more than fifty (50) miles from the martial home, without the permission of the other party or an order of the court, except in the case of a removal based upon well-founded fear of physical abuse against either the fleeing parent or the child. Bottom Line = You have to give prior written notice to your spouse of your intent to move, and you have to get court approval before moving with your children.

  6. The provisions of these injunctions are attached to the summons and complaint and are served with the complaint. They become an order of the court. Bottom Line = At the time you or your spouse are served with a divorce complaint, then these injunctions automatically become order of the divorce court.

  7. These injunctions apply to the parties and not to any third party. Bottom Line = These are injunctions or restraining orders that mutually restrain and enjoin both you and your spouse, but they don’t apply to any third party. These injunctions or restraining orders become effective as of the Clerk’s filed stamped date and time of the divorce or legal separation complaint. Parties should be ever mindful not to violate these injunctions or they will surely find themselves in willful civil or criminal contempt of a court order. That is not the way that you want to begin your divorce proceedings, i.e. on the bad side of the judge because you are in contempt.

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