Once a Rhode Island Divorce is filed by your attorney (or by yourself) then it would be wise to consider what you do each day or you might end up in handcuffs.
The Automatic Orders of the Court are not simply a peice of paper. They are embodied in the Rhode Island General Laws and they prescribe what you can and cannot do. I ran into a situation similar to this. You can look at the Automatic Orders of the court to see what you thing but here's my take on it.
Bob is married to Judy. For the final year of their marriage Judy is not working outside the home but she is taking care of someone dear to her who is very ill. She had a good job for the first two years of their four year marriage and contributed to everything. Judy was unhappy with her job and presumably wanted his wife to be happy so he told her to go ahead and quit because he made enough income to sustain them for a while. Judy does so with Bob's approval. They decide to get divorced. Bob gives Judy $4,000 as a sign of good faith to help settle the case more quickly after it's filed. Bob files for divorce and gets a lawyer. Bob is upset when Judy gets a lawyer and uses funds from their joint checking account to do so. Bob has Judy served and immediately with draws all the money for their joint bank accounts.
As a family law attorney there's no argument, the Automatic Orders that were filed when he signed his Complaint for Divorce are in full force and effect and they prevent him from essentially "monkeying with the finances". Bob has shut Judy off from the financial resources that she has relied upon with his agreement for the past year.
Judy had planned to move to Indiana because she has relatives there but she has no job prospects yet. She has her own credit card but since she has no job it would be difficult to pay it if the kept charging on it.
What is a judge likely to rule in this instance based on Tom's violation of the automatic orders?
Should it matter that Judy has a credit card in her own name that she can make charges on?
If the credit card is her only means of survival and she needs $2,000 to travel to Indiana and give her a 2 month cushion to find a job should this be considered an "Emergency Situation"?
Should it be considered an emergency by the court if Judy had already booked a trailer with the monies Bob had given her paid her rent in advance in Indiana and was scheduled to leave in only four days?
What if Judy discovered through her attorney that she was entitled to ask for 10 times more than Bob was willing to offer her? Does that change whether this puts Judy in an emergency situation.
My take on it is that Bob violated the Court Order, plain and simple and he should have to put half the money back or give half the money to Judy regardless of the $4,000 he gave her hoping that she'd go away with less than she was entitled to.
What's your take on this? I'd really appreciate hearing from laypeople, professors, legal professionals, etc...
NOTE: The postings on this website are NOT legal advice, DO NOT create an attorney/client relationship and are NOT a substitute for a detailed consultation with an attorney experienced in the state where you have your legal issue. This site is based on Rhode Island and is presented for the convenience of the internet public.
* The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law and has no procedure for recognition of specialty in any area of law.