A Restraining Order in a Michigan divorce case.

A Restraining Order is an order used to protect the parties property and finances in a divorce case. There are two types of orders typically filed in every Michigan divorce.  First, is an Order against property transfer and preservation of the marital estate. Second, is a Financial Status Quo Order.


An Order against property transfer is intended to preserve the marital estate during the divorce process. Typically, the Order would prohibit either party from engaging in conduct outside the ordinary course of business.  Extraordinary actions are prohibited such as removing, hiding, transferring, damaging, selling, or destroying property. For example, the restraining order would prohibit a party from liquidating a bank account or a retirement account without the consent of the other party.

The Financial Status quo Order restrains a party from financially punishing a party. Specifically, the Order requires both parties to maintain the financial status quo. By way of example, paying the mortgage, taxes, utilities, car payments, insurance, charge accounts and the like.

Most Restraining Orders are entered on an ex parte basis (see MCR 3.207), that is, without a party being present. Typically, a Complaint for Divorce will request the entry of a Restraining Order because a party alleged that he/she is fearful that property rights will be harmed without one. To prevent abuse a court will typically enter an Order that applies to both the husband and wife, so both parties are restrained.

It is important to remember that a court speaks through its orders so if a party violates a Restraining Order the violation is subject to the court’s power of contempt. Which can include a fine or even incarceration in extraordinary cases.

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