Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Procedure

Can you freeze assets to secure child support and alimony in Florida? In most cases, yes, and you must be sure to present the right evidence and follow the correct procedure to secure such drastic relief. The recent case Olson v. Olson, 4D18-1569 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018) clues us in on what is required.

Allegedly, the former husband in this case owed unpaid alimony and child support to the former wife. The former wife became aware that he was to receive an inheritance. Accordingly, the former wife filed a motion seeking to freeze all of the former husband’s assets, including his impending inheritance. She filed an ex-parte motion for relief and a hearing was held.

At the hearing, the former wife offered no evidence, instead relying only on the statements of her attorney, her motion and the attachments to the motion. Despite this, the trial court entered an order granting the former wife’s motion and freezing all of the former husband’s assets. The former husband appealed.

The appellate court reversed, holding insufficient evidence was presented to the trial court to justify entering the relief requested by the former wife. More specifically, the appellate court held: “A verified motion, by itself, is inadequate to establish the necessary proof when there is a noticed and contested evidentiary hearing [. . .] As we have said many times, the statements of an attorney are not evidence.” The case was remanded with instructions for the trial court to vacate the order.

Freezing assets such as bank accounts is possible so long as certain steps are taken. If you are considering doing this or need to defend against a claim for this, it is important that you consult with an experienced Miami family law attorney.