It has been recently reported that the wife of a Russian Billionaire is fighting to prevent her husband from sailing his yacht, worth over £300 million, away from Dubai. In late 2016, Tatiana Akhmedova was awarded the largest divorce settlement ever ordered in England by the High Court, amounting to £453million, being 41.5 per cent of her ex-husband’s fortune. The settlement included the transfer of the ‘super yacht’ to her, but despite the Court making the Order, he failed to do so.

In circumstances where one party is concerned that a significant asset may be disposed of by the other before financial proceedings are resolved, they may consider seeking Freezing Order. Typically, freezing orders are used to prevent one party from disposing of bank accounts, investments and property, but these orders can be used for a wide range of assets, in this case, a yacht.  The Court can make orders to prevent a party from dealing with any of their assets either in the UK or abroad, but difficulties concerning enforcement of Orders can arise if the asset is held in a country where their courts are unlikely to cooperate. In the present case, there are concerns that the yacht will be moved to a country which will not enforce the order affecting the transfer of the yacht to Mrs Akhmedova.

Freezing orders can be difficult to obtain and should be approached with caution by the applicant. Strict conditions must be met to convince a Judge that the Order is necessary, in summary, it must be proved with sufficiently clear evidence that there is a real risk assets will be dissipated, potentially causing a detriment to the other party. It must also be considered whether notifying the other party that an application will be made would likely cause them to attempt to defeat the purpose of the application.

If you have concerns that your spouse may be disposing of assets, it is imperative that urgent advice is sought from a specialist lawyer with experience dealing with such applications. The consequences of failing to do so may be dire and have a severe impact upon your financial position.