When you file for divorce in Arizona, one of the documents you are required to file is a “joint preliminary injunction.” This is generally a standard form that automatically creates a court order once it is filed.
Its main purpose is to prevent either spouse from making decisions on their own about questions that will be decided in the divorce. As far as possible, the preliminary injunction attempts to keep everything as it was during the marriage until the divorce can be finalized.
Again, the preliminary injunction is a court order, which you should not disobey. If you do, you could be held in contempt of court or even arrested for interfering with judicial proceedings. In either case, you could go to jail or be fined, or both.
The preliminary injunction is in force until the divorce decree is issued.
What does the preliminary injunction order us to do or not do?
Once you or your spouse has filed for divorce, the preliminary injunction automatically goes into force. It has four components:
- An order against family violence. (Be aware that this is not the same as a protective order against domestic violence, which orders you to stay away from one another.)
- An order against dissipating the community estate. You and your spouse are ordered not to sell, give away, transfer, borrow against, or hide any community property, except that you can continue to pay for the necessities of life as usual. You should not take on any new joint debts or make any new, major purchases during the course of the divorce. If you need to do so, talk to your attorney.
- An order keeping the children in the state. Neither spouse can remove any children from the state without the court’s permission or the written agreement of both spouses. Do not plan any out-of-state vacations during the course of your divorce.
- An order requiring the continuation of insurance. Whatever health, life or other insurance you had during the marriage must remain in place for the duration of the divorce. This includes insurance coverage for both spouses and the children. You should not make insurance changes until your divorce is final.
If you have concerns that your divorcing spouse may be violating the preliminary injunction, you should talk to your attorney immediately.
The preliminary injunction may not be the only court order issued during your divorce. You should always ask your lawyer if you are not sure what you have been ordered to do or not do.