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Freezing Orders & Injunctions.

Have you been threatened by your spouse or partner with never being able to see your wealth and/or are you in the middle of litigation and finding that your spouse or partner is being less than honest about the assets?

If the answer to this question is yes, it is probably time for you to consider applying to court for a Freezing Order. A Freezing Order is a powerful protective remedy that can be issued by the courts on occasion without notice to your spouse to preserve the assets and it can help protect against dishonest conduct in the litigation.

Do you think you need legal help with a freezing order or injunction?

Call the family law team to discuss your options

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7870 3877

or email:

What is a freezing order/injunction?

A freezing Injunction is a remedy granted by the courts effectively precludes your spouse and/or your former partner throughout any substantial dealings prior to or during the course of the litigation process until the court can make further orders.

When will an application for a freezing injunction be made?

Where possible, the courts encourage the parties to avoid applying to court (particularly without notice) but, in some cases, such as when direct threats have been made to move the assets of your reach, or a spouse or partner is not complying with basic requirements to disclose their wealth, the courts recognise that they need to make Orders in any event. This can also, for example include cases where there are significant assets offshore or held in cash and the courts identify a need to preserve the asset base. The courts normally require a direct threat or a refusal to give an Undertaking as to preserving the assets prior to making the application to freeze assets. They will however on occasion let you apply to court without your spouse or your former partner knowing about it (known as an ex-parte or ‘without notice’ application).

Who is subject to a freezing injunction?

A Freezing Order is generally made against your spouse and/or the other party to litigation. Quite often it is served on the banks or financial institutions before your spouse so that the banks can stop withdrawal from accounts taking place.

How we can help you

We can help you if you in preparing and seeking a Freezing Order if you believe there is a risk or a threat to the assets or your spouse being less than honest throughout the litigation process. We can prepare an application on your behalf and apply to court and seek appropriate Orders to protect and preserve the assets. If we are successful, we can then implement the terms of any court order to give you the best chance of ensuring your assets do not disappear.

“The court has jurisdiction to preserve specific assets which are the subject matter of proceedings pending the determination of the issues involved for example, an injunction restraining the other party from removing out of the jurisdiction liquid assets pending a hearing”

Judgment of Omrod LJ in Roche v Roche (1981) Fam Law 243

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    I am worried that if I immediately let my spouse or partner know about the fact that I am even considering starting court proceedings all the assets will disappear. What should I do?

    You should immediately seek advice on this matter and look at the possibility of obtaining a Freezing Order and have come to the right part of our website. In order to demonstrate that you have a good case for a Freezing Order you will need to show the court and demonstrate your entitlement and also show that there is a risk that the assets will be moved. Very often this is at the beginning of the litigation process and the first Order that the parties would want to seek.

    How long will a Freezing Order last?

    A Freezing Order usually lasts for at least a few days and sometimes weeks before the matter is brought back into court and reviewed. At the hearing review date (known as the “return date”) the courts consider whether or not the Freezing Order should continue and will also hear from your spouse as to their position in the case. If you are able to demonstrate that there is a risk that the assets will continue to be removed or taken out of the country, Freezing Orders are normally continued but everything very much depends on the facts of your case. That is why it is quite important to carefully consider and weigh up your options before proceeding.

    If I get a Freezing Order how can I afford to pay my living costs and legal costs?

    One of the common exclusions from Freezing Order is fund that are needed for either living costs or legal costs. Ironically, in our experience, Freezing Orders can often be a good way of securing some of the funds you need but that your spouse or partner has not necessarily allowed you to have access to.