Freezing marital assets is a part of some New Jersey divorces. While not every divorce will require marital assets to be frozen, the practice is not uncommon. Marital assets may be frozen in high net worth divorces or particularly contentious divorces.
How and why marital assets are frozen
Marital assets such as shared bank accounts, retirement plans, real estate, and other property may be subject to a court-ordered freeze. That means that both spouses will be legally barred from selling, giving away, or trading any of their marital assets.
One spouse may request a freeze on the marital assets if they suspect that the other spouse is about to put the assets at risk. Maybe you suspect that your soon-to-be-ex will give the family boat to his friend, gamble away everything in your joint checking account or make some ridiculous trades on the stock market. Freezing these assets at the onset of a divorce can help to ensure that they still exist when it’s time to divide the property.
How to get a freeze order
If you are worried about how your spouse will use marital assets during the divorce process, you can file an automatic temporary restraining order with the court. The temporary restraining order on marital assets will be effective for the duration of your divorce. You will have to serve your spouse, their lawyer, and the administrators of any affected assets with a copy of the restraining order.
Prepare in case your spouse does the same thing
While you may decide not to freeze the marital assets, your spouse may freeze them. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you have some liquid assets before you go through the divorce process. If your joint bank account is frozen, for example, it could be difficult to get cash out to pay your bills.