Automatic Orders

In order to protect the parties, the legislature and the Court have established certain Automatic Orders, which go into effect whenever someone files a divorce, or a complaint for relief other than a divorce. The full text of the Automatic Orders is set forth below:

The following automatic orders shall apply to both parties to a complaint for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, annulment, custody or visitation. The automatic orders shall be effective with regard to the plaintiff upon signing of a complaint and with regard to the defendant upon service of the summons and complaint or upon waiver and acceptance of service. The following orders shall remain in place during the pendency of the action, unless modified, terminated or amended by further order of the court upon motion of either of the parties. An automatic order shall not apply insofar as a prior, contradictory order has entered.

1. Neither party shall sell, transfer, encumber, conceal, assign, remove or in any way dispose of, without the consent of the other party in writing, or without an order of the court, any property, individually or jointly held by parties, except in the usual course of business or for customary and usual household expenses or for reasonable attorney's fees in connection with this action.

2. Neither party shall incur any unreasonable debts, including but not limited to, further borrowing against any credit line secured by the family residence, further encumbrancing any assets, or unreasonably using credit cards or cash advances against credit bank cards.

3. Neither party shall permanently remove the minor child or children from the state of Rhode Island, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court.

4. Neither party shall cause the other party or the children of the marriage to be removed from any medical, hospital and/or dental insurance coverage, and each party shall maintain the existing medical, hospital, and dental insurance coverage in full force and effect.

5. Neither party shall change the beneficiaries of any existing life insurance policies, and each party shall maintain the existing life insurance, automobile insurance, homeowner's or renter's insurance policies in full force and effect.

6. If the parties are living together on the date of service of these orders, neither party may deny the other party use of the current primary residence of the parties, whether it be owned or rented property, without court order. This provision shall not apply if there is a prior contradictory court order.

7. If the parties share a child or children, a party vacating the family residence shall notify the other party or the other party's attorney, in writing, within forty-eight hours of such move of an address where the relocated party can receive communication. This provision shall not apply if there is a prior, contradictory court order.

8. If the parents of the children live apart during the dissolution proceeding, they shall assist their children in having contact with both parties, which is consistent with the habits of the family, personally, by telephone, and in writing unless there is a prior court order.


Jeremiah S. Jeremiah, Jr.

Chief Judge

Failure to obey these orders may be punishable by contempt of court. If you wish to modify these orders, you must file an appropriate motion with the Family Court Domestic Clerk's Office in the county where the action is pending.

Service of automatic orders shall be made with service of process of a complaint for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, annulment, custody or visitation.

DR42 REV 9/4/98

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