Three Reasons to Freeze Assets During Divorce

property-divisionOnce a couple has filed for divorce, their relationship has usually broken down to the point where spouses no longer trust each other. This is often especially true regarding finances since differences in financial behaviors contribute regularly to the reasons people get divorced.

If one spouse is worried that the other spouse may try to hide, spend, waste, or otherwise diminish a couple’s marital property before the asset division process is complete, they may apply to have their assets frozen with a financial restraining order. Although many states will automatically place a “stay” on a couple’s marital property during divorce, Illinois divorce courts do not automatically freeze a couple’s assets. Spouses will have to proactively apply for a financial restraining order.

Why Freeze Assets During Divorce?

Spouses may have one or more reasons to file a motion to freeze assets, including:

  • Gambling, betting, drug use, or other destructive habits – Compulsive habits are often very expensive and once the money is lost, it is impossible to recover.
  • Hiding money – Many spouses will begin transferring funds before or during divorce to try to diminish the appearance of the marital estate. “Gifts” or loans given to friends, transfers to offshore accounts, or prepayment of taxes with the expectation of a large return are all examples of ways people may try to hide assets.
  • Destroying marital assets – Some spouses become hostile enough that getting revenge is a sufficient reason to waste what a couple shares. Excessive or reckless spending, selling property below value, or spending money on an affair could all be sufficient to get a financial restraining order.

How Can I Get a Financial Restraining Order?

Illinois has a fairly high standard when it comes to freezing assets, and a court will often only partially freeze some assets under a temporary restraining order. A spouse requesting a motion to freeze their assets must prove four things:

  • They have a certain asset that needs protection
  • They are at risk of suffering irreparable harm without the asset being frozen
  • There is no other legal remedy available
  • The spouse requesting the motion is likely to succeed “on the merits of the case”

In other words, there has to be a substantial and ongoing risk of the assets being lost and not being recoverable. Spouses do not have to provide extensive amounts of evidence to justify a financial restraining order, but if they wish certain assets to be frozen until the divorce is finalized, they will need to justify that before a judge.

Speak with an Arlington Heights, IL Asset Division Lawyer

If you are considering divorce and wondering whether you should get a financial restraining order, speak with an experienced Rolling Meadows divorce attorney with Cosley Law Office. Our legal professionals will provide trustworthy legal guidance and reliable support throughout your divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling our offices today at 847-253-3100.



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