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Freezing Orders – What are they in a divorce?

Freezing orders may well be consideration when your spouse is attempting to sell the matrimonial assets.  There’s no hiding from the fact that going through a divorce can be a highly emotional and fraught process. Separating from a partner is not always amicable and feelings of anger and resentment can sometimes result in one party concluding that their spouse does not have a right to a share of some, or all, of the matrimonial assets. As a result, they may, for example, decide to sell these assets.

This is where freezing orders come into their own.


What is a freezing order?

Freezing orders are a type of injunction which are used to freeze assets. They can be utilised to stop someone disposing of an asset, or even using it, for a certain duration.

Freezing orders can be employed for various different purposes but in family law, they are normally used to stop a spouse from disposing of an asset, until the financial settlement has been finalised.

freezing orders


Can any assets be frozen?

In short, yes. Assets both in the UK and abroad can be made the subject of a freezing order.

Everything from jewellery to property can be specified on a freezing order. One of the most common things to be made the subject of these orders, however, is a bank account.

In addition, freezing orders can specify something that your spouse has not received yet. For example, if your spouse is selling their business, the money that they will get from the sale of that business could potentially be made the subject of a freezing order.

However, as freezing orders do take away a person’s ability to freely use their assets, the courts do not give them out without a number of very strict criteria being fulfilled.


How can I apply for a freezing order?

It is highly advisable that you seek expert legal advice if you would like to apply for a freezing order.

As we mentioned above, in order for a judge to grant a freezing order, a number of conditions will have to be met.

For example, you will need to show that your spouse is intending to dispose of the asset/s. This cannot simply be a suspicion that s/he will do so, but good, solid evidence.

Additionally, you must show that your spouse has enough money to pay for living and legal expenses, as well as any debts, while the order is in force.

It is also worth noting here that it will normally be necessary for you to promise to pay for any losses incurred by third parties or your spouse, as a result of the court order.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of criteria. Indeed, this is a highly complex area of law and it is worth repeating that it’s vital to seek legal advice.

Finally, if you want to contest a freezing order, it is crucial to arrange a meeting with a solicitor experienced in this area of law, as soon as possible. If you ignore a freezing order, you could be found to be in contempt of court, which could result in a prison sentence.


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for a FREE consultation

For more information on freezing orders call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email

Our expert divorce solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in our:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

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Please contact us for more details of our offices.

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26th September 2019

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