Section 12 of the Family Law Act authorizes the court to make an interim or final order with respect to the property of a spouse to protect the other spouse’s interests on an application for equalization or determination of title.

The court can make an order (a) restraining the depletion of a spouse’s property, and (b) for the possession, delivering up, safekeeping, and preservation of the property.

Section 12 helps ensure there are sufficient assets to satisfy an equalization payment if one is ordered. This is useful if there is a risk that a spouse will dissipate assets before trial. It also assists in preventing a spouse from disposing of property where there is a dispute as to the ownership or right to possession of the property.

Equalization of net family properties may occur when married spouses separate or upon the death of a spouse. However, when spouses are still living together, if there is a serious danger that a spouse may improvidently deplete their family property, the other spouse can apply under section 5(3) to have the difference between the net family properties divided as if the spouses had separated.

For more information about preserving property, contact our Family Law Group.