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Property Attachment in Divorce Matters


Attachment of property means that the court issues an order that effectuates a seizure of property in the anticipation that the property will be used to satisfy a judgment.  In divorce matters, attachment may occur at the outset of the filing of the case by the Plaintiff even before the Defendant is served with the divorce summons and complaint.  The court must approve the attachment as the Plaintiff files an affidavit supporting his or her reasons why attachment is necessary.

Of course, the Defendant is entitled to a hearing on this issue.  Attachments without notification to the Defendant do not occur in perpetuity without giving the Defendant a chance to reply.  Service of the motion for attachment must occur promptly.  Additionally, the Defendant is allowed to request the court attach property owned by the Plaintiff at any time after commencement of the action.

The court may order the attachment of property ex parte (i.e. a hearing before the court without the other party’s presence).  However, the party seeking attachment must show there is a reasonable likelihood that they will recover in a judgment that property they seek to attach, and the following:

  • The amount of the potential judgment is equal to or in excess of the amount of the property attached.
  • The Defendant is not subject to personal jurisdiction or there is a clear danger that the owner will remove the property from the state, conceal it or convey it if notified in advance of the motion for attachment or there is an immediate danger that the property will be destroyed or damaged.

The party whose property is attached may bring a motion to quash the attachment.

Finally, the Court may attach property to secure future support obligations, including child and spousal support.

Our attorneys are experienced litigators and understand the court process and how attachment works.  Call our office today to schedule a free, initial consultation regarding your divorce, separate support or paternity case.

Our firm serves all courts in Boston & Bristol County, including the New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton courthouses.  We also serve all courts in Plymouth County including the Family and Probate Courthouses in Plymouth and Brockton.

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