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Family Law Restraining Orders in California

Posted By Edwin Castellano || 10-Jan-2013

Recent Change to California Family code Section 2040: The Standard Family Law Restraining Orders & Child Abduction Prevention

Edwin Castellanos

A recent change in California Family Code, Section 2040, will impact the Standard Family Law Restraining Orders located on the back of the Summons (Family Law) (Judicial Council Form FL-110).

In California, the restraining orders recited on Judicial Council Form FL-110 are commonly referred to as “automatic temporary restraining orders” or “ATROs.” You can read more about these restraining orders as they are specifically set forth in the California Family Code, Section 2040(a)(1)).

The intent behind the recent change to Family Code Section 2040 is to prevent child abduction. The California legislature enacted new legislation resulting in the addition of a new restraining order you should be aware of when filing your case. Please keep in mind that these restraining orders should not be read in a vacuum. That is, there are some carefully enumerated exceptions and when in doubt you should speak to one of our Los Angeles divorce attorneys to help clarify these issues. That being said, the automatic temporary restraining orders under Family Code Section 2040 now include restraining the parties from applying for new or replacement passports for any minor children of the parties without obtaining prior written consent of the other party, or a court order.

What Is an ATRO? What Does This Mean?

When filing a family law case in California, this change highlights the importance of reading and understanding the restraining orders recited on the Summons (Form FL-110) before it is served on the other party.

As stated above, on the back of the Summons there are standard family law restraining orders (“ATROs”) applicable to the filing party once the Petition is filed. In addition, these restraining orders become effective when the responding party is served in your divorce, legal separation or nullity of marriage case. Once again, these procedural rules are highly technical and if you are in doubt you should always consult and obtain guidance from a licensed Los Angeles divorce lawyer.

Simply put, the ATROs bind the petitioner (the party who is filing) upon the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage and issuance of the summons, and the respondent (the party who is being served with your legal documents) upon service.

If you have filed and served the other party in your Southern California divorce, but were or are unaware of the standard family law restraining orders, please contact one of our Los Angeles divorce attorneys to help you understand just how these restraining orders may impact you at our office in Los Angeles at (323) 655-2105.

Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about the marital dissolution process in California, or the standard family law restraining orders, we hope you will take the time to read our Basic Guide to California Divorce Procedure.

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