How to Freeze Assets for Divorce

Freezing assets refers to the legal practice where a judge, through a court order, restrains marital assets -- that is, one or both spouses cannot sell, trade, barter or otherwise utilize the marital assets. What constitutes a marital asset varies by state, but typically money held jointly, retirement plans, pensions and jointly owned property are marital assets. In divorce cases, assets can be frozen in instances where the estate is at risk. In other words, the judge feels the marital estate will likely be irreparably damaged if the assets are not frozen. This happens when one party might squander, hide or otherwise waste the marital assets during the divorce.

Step 1

File a Automatic Temporary Restraining Order with the family law court hearing the divorce. The forms can be downloaded from various legal document websites. Alternatively, consult a family law attorney or your divorce lawyer, if you have one, to assist with preparation of a restraining order. Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders freeze marital assets for the duration of the divorce.

Step 2

Serve your spouse, or his lawyer if he has one, with a copy of the Automatic Temporary Restraining Order you filed with the court.

Step 3

Forward a copy of the court order to freeze marital assets to the custodian or administrator of each frozen asset to provide notification that the asset is frozen and cannot be sold, traded or used. For example, if the bank or other mortgage company holds the title to your home, a marital asset, provide a the lender with a copy of the court order.

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