Injunction orders during divorce
During the divorce process, either party may take actions that damage the other party and their children. In such cases, a court order may be issued to prohibit one from further committing such wrongdoings upon application.
When will such injunction orders be issued?
- When a party intends to dispose of assets with the intention of defeating the other party’s claim for financial provision
As provided in section 17(1)(a) of the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Ordinance (Cap. 192) (MPPO), the court would likely accept the applicant’s request and issue an injunction order if the other party plans to dispose of any property or to transfer them to other jurisdiction with the intention of defeating the applicant’s claim for financial provision. This is to protect the applicant against deliberate acts that harm their interests. In Kemmis v Kemmis  1 WLR 1307, the Court of Appeal ruled that upon consideration of all evidence, the husband had a subjective intention to defeat the wife’s financial provision claim, which although was not the sole intention he had, was thought to be substantial enough to satisfy s17(1)(a) of MPPO.
When a party is under a risk of being domestically abused/ tortured
Where one of the married parties has been guilty of consistently abusing the other and/or their children (Separation and Maintenance Orders Ordinance (Cap. 16) s3(1)(d)), section 5(1) of the same ordinance applies, which has the effect of a decree of judicial separation on the ground of cruelty, meaning that the abusing party will receive a court order to move out of their matrimonial home. Moreover, the Domestic and Cohabitation Relationships Violence Ordinance (Cap. 189) section 3 provides protection to the married parties’ underaged children. The Court may grant injunctions that restrains the abusing party from continuing such act and going into the residence that the minor is in.
Applications can be made without notifying the abusing party, but the court orders will take effect only after it reaches the respondent. However, the applicant can make use of the period between applying and the order taking effect to move to safer places, such as the Harmony House that provides protection to abused females and children.
If necessary, you can also apply for legal aid. Ms. Ngan is a member of the Legal Aid Department Penal for Criminal, Divorce/Family Law, Employees’ Compensation, Personal Injury, Medical Negligence, and Land Disputes. If legal aid is approved, the aided person has the right to choose a lawyer to represent.