Asset Freezing Injunctions

If you fear that your husband or wife has or will attempt to hide or dissipate assets of the marriage to defeat your financial claims, then it may be necessary to ask the court to freeze assets to prevent this.

A freezing order is an interim injunction that restrains a party from disposing of or dealing with assets.

The purpose of a freezing order is, typically, to preserve the assets until judgment can be obtained or enforced. All types of assets can be frozen, including bank accounts, shares, motor vehicles and land. Orders can be obtained in respect of assets within England and Wales (domestic freezing order) and those situated outside the jurisdiction or worldwide (worldwide freezing order (WFO)).

The legal test to obtain these orders is high and they have been described as the “nuclear option”. Mere suspicion is not enough to meet the test if a costs order is to be avoided. These orders are sought to preserve assets and are commonly sought pre-action if there are already concerns about eventual enforcement of a final order at that stage. An injunction can also be sought after trial or determination, to preserve the assets, until judgment has been enforced.

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