You may apply for a Mareva injunction to stop your spouse from dissipating matrimonial assets while your divorce proceedings are ongoing.
Depending on where the assets are located, you can apply for either a worldwide Mareva injunction or a Mareva injunction limited to assets within Singapore.
Effect of a Mareva injunction on your spouse
Simply put, a Mareva injunction freezes the assets of your spouse. To obtain such an injunction, you would have to show an arguable case that there is a real risk of your spouse dissipating the assets.
The Court will generally order that the total unencumbered value of your spouse’s assets cannot be reduced below the value specified by the Court.
This also includes assets that are not in your spouse’s own name and assets that your spouse jointly owns with another party.
Specifically, your spouse cannot remove the assets from Singapore (if the assets are not already overseas), dispose of them, reduce their value, or deal with them, such that the value is reduced below the specified value.
Your spouse also cannot instruct or encourage anyone else to do the same.
The Court will also require your spouse to provide you with a list of the value, location and details of all of his or her assets, including those that are located overseas, not in his or her own name, or jointly owned with another party.
However, your spouse can still spend a certain amount of money (which the Court will specify) on ordinary living expenses, as well as legal advice and representation, as long as he or she informs your solicitors about the source of the money before spending it.
Your spouse can also dispose of or deal with assets in the ordinary course of business, as long as he or she accounts to you for the amount spent.
Furthermore, your spouse or anyone else who is notified of the injunction can apply to the Court to vary the injunction’s terms, or apply to discharge the injunction such that it no longer applies.
He or she must inform your solicitors of the intention to make such an application. Alternatively, your spouse can make an agreement in writing with your solicitors to vary the injunction’s terms.
Paying for the losses suffered because of the Mareva injunction
In some cases, The Court may order you provide an undertaking to pay for the losses that your spouse or anyone else suffers because of the Mareva injunction.
For example, another party may suffer a loss because of the cost of determining whether they are holding any of your spouse’s assets.
Information required in a Mareva injunction application
A summons application is filed together with a supporting affidavit, and thereafter a hearing date will be fixed for the Court to determine if such an injunction is necessary.
The information required by the Court includes the following:
- Why the application is being made on an ex parte basis, meaning that the application is only presented to the court and not your spouse – for example, because you believe that there is a risk that your spouse will dissipate matrimonial assets
- Whether the application is urgent – for example, the application may be urgent if there is a particular event which may trigger your spouse to dissipate matrimonial assets
- The facts that support your application, for example:
- Facts which led you to believe that your spouse will dissipate matrimonial assets;
- Details of your spouse having already dissipated matrimonial assets; or
- Evidence that your spouse is dishonest or acting in bad faith
- Facts which may support an argument by your spouse that the court should not grant a Mareva injunction
- Whether you know of any jurisdiction-related issues, and whether there has been or will be an application made regarding these issues
- An agreement that you will pay for the losses mentioned in the previous section, the assets that you can use to make the payment, and whom these assets belong to