Even without any trace of misconduct or impending debts, it is common for courts to issue a freeze on the divorcing parties’ accounts. This is to ensure the assets are complete and consistent with the documentation before administrating the property division.
However, any of the parties can take an active part in freezing the assets. If the petitioning spouse can successfully show a need to lock the assets while the divorce is ongoing, the court will issue a temporary restraining order (TRO).
When is there a necessity?
Circumstances that could warrant a freeze on the spouses’ accounts and properties include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Wasting assets: If a spouse has a tendency or is already spending money from the marital assets to make luxurious and expensive purchases, the court may issue a TRO to freeze the accounts.
- Hiding assets: Concealing properties is a common issue in divorces. If documents and other proofs show that a spouse is hiding assets, it may warrant a petition for a TRO.
- Gambling losses: Any history of or current gambling losses of a spouse can cause worry for the other spouse since their marital assets may be at risk for collection.
- Judgment and creditor debts: If a spouse has pending obligations, whether by judgment or traditional borrowing, the other spouse’s share might be compromised if there is not a proper identification and division of assets.
If any of these circumstances are present, there is an urgency for the affected spouse to request the court to freeze the assets.
Stay alert and protect your rights
Once a TRO is in effect, spouses cannot waste, hide or otherwise access assets until the court has finished the property division. Yes, the courts have the discretion to issue a TRO, but if you have supported reason to request a TRO, there is an urgency to initiate the petition yourself. By doing so, you are taking an active step toward protecting your rights.