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Can Assets Be Frozen in a Miami Divorce?

can assets be frozen in a divorce

Facing a messy divorce?

Ending a marriage is never easy. There’s often a lot of disappointment, anger, and fear for the future. Child custody needs to be decided, alimony might be requested, and marital assets need to be split.

When it comes to the property division process, Florida is an “equitable distribution” state. This means all of the couple’s holdings and assets are split between the two spouses in a way that the court sees as fair (or “equitable”).

In some divorce cases, one or both spouses try to spend down, transfer or hide assets to keep them out of the divorce proceedings and preserve those assets for themselves. This unethical and sneaky divorce tactic can get the person in a lot of trouble with the court.

However, since it’s not always apparent that someone is tampering with the marital property, if one spouse is concerned that the other spouse may try some of these tactics, they can request that the court freeze assets until the divorce process is completed.

If you’re headed for a tricky and costly divorce, there’s no time to waste. Contact an experienced Miami divorce attorney to ensure your portion of the marital assets is fair and equitable.

What Does It Mean to Freeze Bank Accounts and Other Marital Assets?

Freezing assets in a divorce case is often accomplished through an emergency motion for a temporary financial restraining order. If granted by the judge, this motion will effectively block your spouse from selling, transferring, spending, or otherwise dissipating the assets frozen during divorce proceedings.

In many cases, spouses can still access some funds to pay for reasonable expenses after an automatic temporary restraining order has been put in place. This includes bank accounts and other marital assets.

Which Marital Assets Can Be Frozen in a Florida Divorce?

It’s usually only realistic to put a temporary restraining order in place to freeze certain high-value assets.

Examples of a couple’s marital property that may be frozen include:

  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement plans
  • Life insurance policies
  • Business assets
  • Pension accounts
  • IRAs

When a financial restraining order is placed on a couple’s assets through a court order, the spouse sometimes cannot even make changes to the account—like beneficiaries—until the parties agree to divorce terms.

Reasons You May Need to Freeze a Bank Account or Other Assets

So, how do you know whether you need to file a motion to freeze assets and when you should file it? You can file the motion to freeze assets during separation when filing your divorce petition or at any time throughout the divorce process.

Spouses may motion for a temporary financial restraining order for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Unusual activity in joint bank accounts
  • The other spouse has a history of manipulative behavior
  • The other spouse is involved in an extramarital affair or has a substance abuse problem
  • The other spouse has lied about their income or hidden assets
  • The other spouse has secretly tried to make changes to bank accounts or other assets

Suppose you already know—before filing for divorce—that the other spouse will be difficult during proceedings, and you suspect that they’ll try using some vengeful tactics. In that case, you’ll want to act fast.

Get Legal Help from an Experienced Miami Divorce Lawyer

If your marriage is ending and it’s not looking pretty, it will be a difficult road to walk alone. When spouses become vindictive, dishonest, or outright hostile during divorce proceedings, it’s not easy to keep a level head.

The good news is that having the legal help of an experienced family law attorney can help give you some peace of mind and protect your financial future.

The Vasquez de Lara Law Group can assist you with filing court documents for freezing assets, negotiating with your spouse’s attorney regarding asset division, and advising you throughout your entire divorce process… even when things get messy.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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