Freezing Injunctions

Asset Protection and Freezing Injunctions            

Where there are moderate to significant assets, there can sometimes be concerns that your spouse or civil partner is hiding assets from you or is taking steps to dispose of them without your knowledge. They can do this by redirecting their income, withdrawing significant sums of money or transferring property or shares to put them out of your reach. 

There are of course times when these transactions can be perfectly legitimate, for example the sale of a property in return for a fair value but sometimes these transactions or the timing of them are deliberate attempts to reduce your financial claim. If you are concerned that this is happening to you then there are steps that can be taken to protect your assets. One such example is a freezing injunction.

It is quite common for parties in a divorce or judicial separation proceeding to apply for a court order preventing one spouse from dissipating or reducing the family assets.

A freezing order is an essential part of your arsenal if you are looking to protect assets prior to you agreeing or obtaining a full financial settlement.

A court will grant a freezing order when it is satisfied that there is a risk that one party may be about to dispose of an asset which would be detrimental to the other party.
When there is a clear and deliberate attempt by one spouse to reduce the financial relief of the other spouse this application should be made.

An example of when such an order may be sought is where one spouse is about to come into an inheritance or redundancy. The other spouse can apply to the Court for a “Mareva” injunction which will freeze that money until the full hearing of the divorce or judicial separation.

A freezing injunction can also be sought after a final settlement has been reached to ensure that the court order can be properly enforced.

There must be sufficient assets in existence to meet the amount of the claim that can’t be satisfied otherwise. For example, if there are other assets in the asset pool that will cover any right the applicant would have then the order would not be appropriate. The order will only be granted when the applicant would be left without their full share due to the asset being sold or transferred.

It is crucial that the applicant acts quickly when making their application for a freezing injunction. Any delay will make it more difficult to convince the court that the injunction is necessary. Delay also increases the risk that the assets in question will already have been dissipated by the time an injunction can be granted.

This area of law needs prompt attention so that assets aren’t pulled from your reach. For a confidential discussion, please contact our team of specialist family solicitors today.