Freezing Bank Accounts During Divorce
Protecting Your Assets After a Relationship Breakdown
Freezing Injunction and Family Law Parramatta
Sadly, separating or divorcing from a partner or spouse isn’t always amiable — meaning you may need to consider freezing bank accounts during divorce to defend your assets.
At highly emotional times — such as going through divorce or separation — people usually considered sensible, thoughtful, and balanced can act surprisingly out of character. This can lead to rash or malicious decisions, which may involve them trying to dispose, sell, or give away valuables and/or cash in order to prevent their ex-spouse or partner from having rightful access.
Falzon Legal, specialists in Family Law, will compassionately and patiently advise and guide you on obtaining freezing injunctions. Ceaselessly supportive, we will explain your options, suggest the best course of action, including less adversarial solutions, and act professionally in your best interests.
Obtaining a Freezing Order Under Family Law
First, speak to a lawyer with expertise in Family Law and freezing assets — such as Falzon Legal.
Injunctions are not granted lightly by the Court — and it’s crucial that you have sufficient grounds to make an application.
Typically, a freezing order — whether on bank accounts, property, or investments — is only granted where there is an evidential risk of assets being disposed of or removed, or a threat of the other party absconding. Acts which would prevent any future judgements from being satisfied — typically under a Property Settlement.
If you are applying for a bank freezing injunction, under UCPR (Uniform Civil Procedure Rules) 25.14, you will need to prove:
- You have a judgement in your favour, or have a case arguable in your favour.
- That such a judgement is unlikely to be met — whether in part or in full — due to the removal or disposal of assets.
- That a judgement will not be satisfied, due to a third party having control and ability to dispose of assets.
Most commonly, the Court will require you, as the applicant, to give an undertaking agreeing to reimburse for any damages encountered by the frozen person — should the judgement fail.
If the freezing order is granted, and consequently your ex-spouse or partner violates it by removing cash from the bank account — or disposes of assets — this will be considered contempt of court. In such an event, this can be punished by a fine, or possibly even imprisonment.
Are Freezing Orders on Bank Accounts Always Granted?
Not only does the Court require the evidential proof outlined above to grant a Mareva Injunction — even if it does so, it’s usually time limited. The Court needs to be convinced of a substantial risk of asset disposal before a judgement.
Furthermore, bear in mind that the Court will only issue an order in relation to funds that have not yet been disposed of (Qian & Xue, FedCFamC1A 93, 2022).
Hence if your ex-spouse transfers money to friends, and you later apply for an injunction, only the funds remaining are applicable for protection — not those that have been allocated elsewhere.
And what’s more, the application to freeze bank accounts needs to be reasonable.
For example, if a pending Property Settlement is likely to result in you receiving $100,000 — the Court will not entertain an application to freeze $500,000. As remarked upon in Cardile vs LED Builders Pty Ltd (1999) — any injunction should cause the ‘minimal disturbance’ as required, and the granting of freezing orders needs to be applied with caution.
Wondering if Freezing Your Partner’s Bank Account Is Needed? Call Us Now
What Does Ex Parte Mean in Family Court Injunctions?
Coming from the Latin meaning ‘from one party’ — an ex parte application in the Family Court refers to requests to freeze bank accounts where the respondent (the ex-spouse or partner in Property Settlements) isn’t present.
And, Under Newcastle City Council vs Caverstock Group Pty Ltd (2008), the Court has the power to grant a bank freezing injunction in these circumstances.
In short, your wife, husband, or partner will not be aware of the action — until the injunction is issued.
Typically, this occurs under an application for an urgent injunction in Family Law — where there is a significant risk of the second party maliciously disposing or redistributing assets, prompted by an injunction application.
Falzon Legal — Parramatta’s Family Law Injunction Experts
If you believe your former spouse or partner may dispose of assets prior to a Property Settlement — speak to Falzon Legal today.
Working tirelessly and compassionately on your behalf, we can advise and recommend on the suitability of applying for an injunction — and navigate you considerately through the whole process if required.
Furthermore, we can, where possible, help you achieve a more amiable and less hostile solution through other routes — such as Binding Financial Agreements and Consent Orders. Whatever your decision — you’re assured professionalism, diligence, and understanding.
Talking face-to-face in our Parramatta office — or your home if more suitable — we will attentively listen to your situation, explain your options, and act accordingly in your best interests.
Injunctions to Freeze Bank Accounts FAQs
Do Freezing Orders Cover All Assets?
If the Court grants a freezing order, it can address particular assets, assets of a particular type, or all assets.
However, any injunction issued by the Court will only amount to a value that will cause minimal disruption, and be reasonable to the outcome of a judgement — such as a Property Settlement.
Can My Wife Freeze My Bank Account?
If your wife applies to the Court for a freezing order, it is possible that an injunction may be granted that prevents you from disposing of cash from a bank account.
Does a Freezing Order Injunction Only Cover Australia?
Depending on the injunction — which must be reasonable in relation to a judgement — it may address only the contents in one bank account, numerous accounts across Australia, or investments worldwide.
Can My Husband Freeze My Bank Account?
If you’re wondering can my spouse freeze my bank account — the answer is yes, under certain circumstances.
Should your husband, wife, or partner apply to the Court for an injunction — and it is subsequently granted — you may be prevented from disposing cash from an account, or a portion thereof.
If My Bank Account Is Frozen, How Do I Live?
In most circumstances, any freezing orders permit the respondent sufficient access to funds for reasonable living expenses.
How Do I Protect My Bank Account From My Spouse?
A Mareva Injunction can prevent your spouse or partner from maliciously disposing or reallocating funds from your bank account.