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Almost half the people I talk to on a given day or week have yet to file for divorce. And they are in the planning phases and are trying to figure out their options. Now, I'm never an advocate for divorce, but there's one situation in which I encourage people to file sooner over later. And the reason is because, when you file for divorce, you generally have additional protections when it comes to financial decisions that are made. And specifically, most divorce filings include something that's called a temporary restraining order or automatic temporary restraining order, depending upon your state. And what that means is that neither spouse is allowed to make big financial decisions once the divorce is filed.
And the reason that's important is oftentimes I hear people saying, "Well, my spouse is thinking about doing this. Should I go along with it? Or how can I stop this from happening? Or how do I protect myself if my spouse does that?" And oftentimes the only answer is, if this is something you're really worried about, you need to file for divorce now to protect yourself and to prevent your spouse from making this particular financial decision that could be very harmful to your future particularly when divorce is on the horizon. And this temporary restraining order or automatic temporary restraining order, as I said, prevents your spouse and you as well, but your spouse from making big financial moves.
And what are those? Those could be something like selling property, transferring property, borrowing, like taking on a big debt, changing your insurance policies, withdrawing, that's a word I have a lot of trouble with, withdrawing large sums of money from bank accounts, destroying or hiding assets, paying down big debts, taking on big debts, making a big purchase, things like that. And the restraining order, which you get when you file, is there to protect you and to keep your spouse from doing those things. Now, it gets a little complicated because there are two things that are really important notes to think about. The first is that you can still do stuff that's in the normal course of business.
Had a really challenging case lately where the spouses were business owners and they were filing for divorce, and they were trying to figure out how to still continue... They had a very, very successful business, but they buy and sell, I'm just going to use the word property very generally, regularly. I mean, that was basically what the nature of their business is. They buy and sell lots of properties. And so, the question was, under this temporary restraining order, how do we keep running the business the way we need to run the business, given that basically, all they do is large transactions and how to make that work efficiently.
But other times I hear people saying, "My spouse is about to withdraw a bunch of money or transfer a bunch of money to here or there." And that's when that restraining order comes into play. But the point of all of that is just to say, the restraining order’s first important note is that you're still allowed to pay your groceries, pay your bills, pay your mortgage, do the normal things that you do to run a normal life. It's not meant to stop spending completely because that would be unrealistic. The second thing that you should know is that it's not perfect. And what I say by it's not perfect is, just because you have this restraining order in effect doesn't mean that your bank knows, doesn't mean your credit card company knows, doesn't mean that all of the institutions know what's going on.
So even though there may be this restraining order in effect, if your bank doesn't know, your spouse could theoretically make some big transfers to different places. And, yeah, that'll come up later in the discussion, but it is not something that automatically goes in place to