When a marriage or civil partnership breaks up and there is a significant risk that one party may move assets (normally cash in bank accounts) ‘out of sight’, it is sometimes possible to obtain a ‘freezing order’ to prevent the sums being transferred.
Whether or not a freezing order will be granted will depend on the following tests:
- Is there a good case, supported by objective facts and evidence, that the assets are likely to be moved, with the intention of defeating a claim on them?
- If a request to freeze assets without notice is made, is there positive evidence that the giving of notice would lead to irretrievable prejudice to the applicant?
- If the application is made for an ‘ex parte’ order (one where the other party is not present at the application), has the applicant been completely open and honest with the court?
These pose quite a high hurdle for the applicant for a freezing order. Recently, an application by a woman to freeze various Swiss bank accounts controlled by her husband was initially granted but was then subject to an application by her husband to discharge it. His application was granted, the judge concluding that although it might well be desirable for the wife to have the accounts frozen, the continuation of the order would be oppressive and vexatious for the husband.
Click here for a guide to divorce and money.