Once the decision to get divorced is made, most people want the actual process to be over quickly. Unfortunately, that’s not how the system works. The process takes time, and the divorcing couple has a number of restrictions placed on them.
New York is one of the states where these restrictions are placed on the couple immediately after they file the petition. The restrictions pertain to travel, finances and insurance plans. In fact, perhaps the most surprising restriction pertains to insurance — spouses cannot be kicked off health insurance programs until the divorce is finalized. They must also stay on car insurance policies and life insurance policies. This means one party could end up paying for the other party’s insurance for a number of months.
Immediately after the paperwork is filed, none of the parties can sell, dispose of or transfer property. Bank accounts cannot be emptied, credit cards can’t be used to go on shopping sprees and significant others cannot be removed from accounts either. Funds can be used for necessities, but if any expenditure looks fishy, the spending party might end up reimbursing the other party. This is done to protect divorcing parties from retaliating against one another and ensuring everything is worked out legally.
Children cannot leave the state until the divorce is finalized, even for a day trip. Foreign trips are pretty much out of the question. Without a court order or a written agreement, a parent taking the kids out of the state could find himself or herself being tracked and unable to see their children again without supervision.
To avoid getting bogged down in the grey area between the beginning and end of the divorce process, it might be helpful to speak to an experienced attorney before making any moves. It might be possible to work around the restrictions, but it needs to be done legally and an attorney can discuss those options.