Divorce Family Law

The Statutory Injunction : Mind Your Behavior When Divorce is Filed

BehaviourInDivorce-FrancisKing (1)
Written by Francis King

What is “Statutory Injunction” and how does it affect your divorce? If you have filed for divorce, chances are you are already at the end of your patience. You’ve had it! You’ve tried marriage counseling. You’ve searched your soul. You’ve prayed on it. And, you’ve reached your conclusion. You have to get out of this marriage! You want a divorce! And not just that!

Emotions Run High When Divorce is Filed
You really want to stick it to that rotten spouse of yours! After you file that divorce complaint, you want to move all the money from the joint checking account to an account in your own name (preferably offshore). You’d like to stop paying the premiums for their medical insurance coverage, and cancel the life insurance. While you’re at it, why not send them a bunch of nasty text messages with a few choice words and, for good measure, email their employer to say what a dirt bag they turned out to be?

Oh, and just as a matter of self-protection, perhaps you should delete all those photos you have on your computer of you and your extra-marital romantic partner. (And, maybe, delete all those incriminating text messages from your cell phone, too.) Finally, why not take the kids and get a fresh start? After all, you always wanted to move to California. Now’s the time! And, on the drive out there, go ahead and tell them what you really think of their father (or mother, as the case may be.)

Great ideas! Right?

Tennessee’s Statutory Injuction Restricts Certain Actions After Filing for Divorce
Well, actually, no… and to all of the above. Once a divorce complaint is filed, in Tennessee, a statutory Temporary Restraining Order automatically goes into immediate effect. Under the terms of that Order, once a divorce is filed, you must not:

  1. Bother (harass), threaten, assault or abuse your spouse.
  2. Talk about your spouse in a bad way to or in front of your children, your spouse’s children or your spouse’s employer.
  3. Hide, destroy or spoil any evidence stored on a computer hard drive or memory storage device.
  4. Move the children out of Tennessee or more than 100 miles away from the marital home.
  5. Change, cancel or assign any insurance policy that covers your spouse or your children.
  6. Change, cancel or assign any insurance policy that names your spouse or children as beneficiary.
  7. Stop paying for any insurance policy premium that covers your spouse or children.
  8. Do anything to any martial property that makes it worth less money.


Note: This means you can’t sell, spend, transfer, assign, borrow against, hide or do anything with it that destroys or depletes its value. HOWEVER, you CAN use your income to pay for expenses to maintain your usual standard of living and pay the usual operating expenses of your business. You must keep records of all expenses and give your spouse copies of those records if he or she requests them.

All of these prohibitions remain in place until your divorce is finalized…. unless you and your spouse agree otherwise or the Court orders some exception.

Take a Deep Breath
So, sorry, but all those things you’d love to do to make that no good so-and-so as miserable as they’ve made you all these years … well, you can’t do ‘em. If you do, you can be held in contempt of court, go to jail, wind up paying your spouse’s attorney’s fees and alienate yourself from the judge for the rest of the case. Not good!

Best solution? Get yourself a lawyer you’re comfortable with, and move the case forward to an appropriate and reasonable conclusion as fast as possible. Then, get on with your life!

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