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What Is a Preliminary Injunction in Divorce Cases in Colorado?


A preliminary injunction is something you will encounter if you receive a summons for a divorce action in Colorado. It is a legal order not to do certain things, such as destroy property that belongs to your ex-spouse or spend large sums of money from a joint account, until the dissolution of your marriage or another court order ends the injunction. Learn more about preliminary injunctions to avoid doing something that could get you into legal trouble during a divorce case in Colorado.

What Is a Preliminary Injunction?

Emotions can run high during a divorce. One or both parties may be inclined to do something rash to take out their anger or frustration, such as destroy property that belongs to the other person. In an effort to make sure nothing substantial happens that could change the financial situation of one or both parties, the courts automatically make an order during a divorce case called a preliminary injunction.

A preliminary injunction aims to protect the status quo of each spouse before a divorce. It is a temporary order that will only last as long as your divorce case unless another order of the court says otherwise. It automatically goes into effect in every Colorado divorce case once the summons has been served. The language of a preliminary injunction can be found in Colorado Revised Statutes Section 14-10-107(b)(l).

What Are the Terms of a Preliminary Injunction?

The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to require both parties to maintain the financial state they were in during their marriage as much as possible during a pending divorce. It is meant to prevent drastic financial changes that could negatively impact property division – especially changes made intentionally by one spouse to harm or inconvenience the other. A preliminary injunction in Colorado automatically sets the following restrictions:

  • Neither party may dispose of any marital property without the consent of the other party or an order from the court. This includes transferring, encumbering, concealing or destroying the property. There are exceptions for the usual course of business or the necessities of life.
  • Neither party may engage in extraordinary expenditures without notifying the other party of the intent to do so. The party must also give a detailed account to the court of all extraordinary expenditures made after the preliminary injunction is in effect.
  • Neither party may disturb the peace of the other party. This can mean many different things, but it generally prohibits interfering with the other party’s life or causing undue stress or irritation.
  • Neither party may move minor shared children out of the state without the consent of the other party or an order of the court.
  • Neither party may cancel, terminate, modify or stop paying for an insurance policy that provides coverage to either of the parties or minor children, or a life insurance policy that names any of the parties or children as beneficiaries.

If the terms and parameters of the injunction are unclear, discuss them in more detail with a divorce attorney in Colorado. If you believe your spouse may engage in any of these actions, serve the divorce summons sooner rather than later. If your spouse has begun any of these actions, he or she must cease when the injunction goes into effect.

What Happens If You Breach a Preliminary Injunction?

Going against a preliminary injunction by dissipating marital assets is against the law in Colorado. Family court judges do not take these infractions lightly, as they can interfere with the equitable distribution of a couple’s assets. If someone breaches the terms of this temporary injunction in Colorado, that person may be held in contempt of court. This can result in penalties such as fines and jail time.

For more information about a preliminary injunction in a divorce case, contact a divorce attorney in Fort Collins.

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