One of the roles of a family law attorney is to play defense with respect to dissipation of a marital estate during a divorce. In many cases, the family law attorney is concerned with limiting the spending of financial accounts for non-marital purposes during the pendency of a litigation. And in other cases, the family law practitioner’s goal is to prevent the sale or encumbering of real estate while the litigation is ongoing.
There are two vehicles an attorney can use to achieve the goal of preventing the sale of real estate: (1) obtain an order prohibiting the sale of real property; or (2) file a notice of lis pendens.
Unfortunately, at the outset of a case, sometimes an attorney represents the party who has very little knowledge as to the financials of the parties. No discovery has been completed. No Case Information Statements have been filed with the court. This makes it nearly impossible to secure all aspects of the parties’ marital estate. The attorney is hoping that the other party does not dissipate, hypothecate, or transfer any assets because they are effectively practicing with a blindfold. Certainly, the attorney can run to court on an Order to Show Cause to prevent dissipation. But in those instances, doing so may be based on pure speculation. And even then, that is not a fail-safe approach. The party could still decide to violate the order and sell the property.
However, there are effective ways to preserve marital property, whether real or personal, without the need to burden a court with emergent applications and that same be adopted.
Read more in the January 22nd New Jersey Law Journal here: Preserving Marital Assets and Judicial Economy During Divorce | New Jersey Law Journal