What is a Temporary Injunction?

Blue border with “What is a Temporary Injunction?” in black lettering and the gold Freed Marcroft LLC divorce and family law attorneys logo in the lower right corner.A temporary injunction is a court order prohibiting an action by a party to a lawsuit until there has been a trial or other court action.  Sometimes, a party will file a request for a temporary injunction on an emergency, or “ex parte,” basis.

Read on to learn more.

Ex Parte Temporary Injunctions

Due process requires that parties are entitled to notice and the opportunity to be heard. This is true in all court cases, including divorce, separation, custody, and other family law cases.

But in emergency situations, an “ex parte application” provides an exception to the rules of due process.  It allows you to petition the court without the normal involvement of the other parties involved in your case.  If the judge grants the emergency motion, the order is only temporary. The court holds a full hearing with all the parties within a short period of time.

In other words, ex parte temporary injunctions seek immediate, temporary court orders pending a formal hearing with both parties present.

Read: What is an Ex Parte?

Do Courts Always Grant Injunctions on an Emergency Basis?

Courts can grant injunctions either after a hearing with all parties present or on an ex parte, emergency basis.

General Statutes § 52-471(a) allows courts to grant an immediate injunction if the circumstances of the case demand it, or the court may cause notice of the application to be given to the adverse party requiring that he or she appear at a hearing and show cause why the injunction should not be granted.

However, no temporary injunction may be granted without notice to the adverse party, unless it clearly appears from the specific facts shown by affidavit or by verified Complaint that irreparable loss or damage will result to the applicant before the matter can be heard on notice.

Although the requirement is not explicitly detailed in the statute, any application for an injunction pursuant to General Statutes §52-471 must meet two preliminary requirements:

  • First, the applicant must demonstrate that he or she has no adequate remedy at law, and
  • Second, the applicant will suffer a substantial and irreparable injury if no injunction is granted.

When Do Spouses Use Temporary Injunctions in Connecticut Family Law Cases?

Spouses usually file applications for temporary injunctions with the court when there is a financial issue.  For example, you might file an ex parte temporary injunction when you are concerned that your spouse may conceal, dispose of, or fraudulently transfer assets.

In family law cases, the automatic court orders prevent spouses from a variety of financial actions.  For example, these include selling, taking away, giving away or disposing of any property without written agreement with the other party or a court order except in their usual business or for usual expenses for the home or for reasonable attorney’s fees in the case.  Normally the remedy for a violation of the automatic orders is a Motion for Contempt.

The critical question for parties deciding whether to file a temporary injunction is often whether an irreparable injury will occur.

Read: What Are the Automatic Orders in a Connecticut Divorce?

Irreparable Injury

Sometimes, judges can correct a spouse’s financial violation of the automatic orders via redistribution of other assets.  In other words, if one spouse took $50,000 from a bank account in violation of the automatic orders, the court can transfer marital funds from another source to the other spouse to offset or “make up” for it.  In those cases, spouses may file a Motion for Contempt and not seek an injunction.

However, there are not always sufficient other assets of income to adequately compensate the spouse seeking the injunction.  In those instances, a court may consider the injury “irreparable” and may grant a temporary injunction.

Bonds and Temporary Injunctions

Generally speaking, courts cannot grant temporary injunctions until the party applying for the injunction posts a bond satisfactory to the court.  The exception is that the court need not require a bond when there is good cause for the court not to require a bond.

For example, in divorces, the spouse seeking an injunction frequently may be the economically dependent spouse without access to the financial resources to obtain a bond.

What Other Types of Ex Parte Motions Exist in Connecticut?

Other than temporary injunctions, the other two most common types of emergency motions in Connecticut family law are:

Next Steps

For more information about Connecticut divorce and family law, please check out our Divorce Information and Facts.

If you have questions or want to learn more about how our team of divorce attorneys can help you with your divorcecustody, or post-judgment issue, please contact us either here or by phone at 860-530-4221.