In a high-asset divorce, many men express concerns that women are unfairly favored in the divorce process. Although the system itself is designed specifically to be free of gender bias, many men walk away from divorce cases with the impression that there is indeed a gender bias among certain family law judges or magistrates.
Working with experienced family law attorneys is the best way to protect finances and custody rights in a divorce. Outlined below is an overview of men’s rights in high-asset divorce cases.
Maryland is considered an equitable distribution state, which means that the courts are not necessarily required to divide property in a divorce equally between spouses. Instead, they divide property in a manner that the court believes to be fair. Although each spouse may get half of the marital property in many instances, this is not always the case.
Some of the variables that are considered in determining equitable distribution include:
- The income and earning capacity of the spouses
- The income of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living of the couple
- The ages and physical health of the couple
- Other economic circumstances
Protecting Men’s Rights
Men need to be prepared to pursue their rights in a divorce case, and the first step of doing this successfully is to hire an attorney who has experience in high asset divorces. Although men must be prepared to let go of some assets in a divorce, and potentially pay child support and alimony, an experienced attorney can better achieve a fair distribution of assets and payments.
Men have a right to expect the appropriate division of assets such as bank accounts, cash and other items, as well as retirement accounts and child custody.
In the past, children were often placed in their mother’s care during a divorce. However, more courts are now favoring joint custody agreements that give children a more balanced amount of time with both their mother and their father.
Seeking joint custody is not only beneficial for enhancing a man’s relationship with his children; it can also affect his financial obligations in the divorce. Men who spend more time with their children post-divorce will typically be required to pay less in alimony and child support payments than those who only see their children every other weekend.
By working with an attorney to negotiate an arrangement between the spouses or undergoing divorce mediation with both attorneys present, custody can often be resolved without leaving the decision to a judge.
Stocks are a common asset that are often granted to executives as part of their work and will need to be divided in a divorce. Stock options can form a significant portion of a marital estate making it essential that their valuations are calculated properly.
Whether the stock options are treated as an asset or as income will affect property division as well as spousal and child support. Options that were awarded and vested during a marriage are considered 100% marital property.
When it comes to options that were awarded but not vested during the marriage, a determination must be made on whether they were granted due to past service or in anticipation of future performance.
Either spouse who acquired non-marital property prior to the marriage will remain the owner of that property. In addition, any property that was received by one spouse as a gift or inheritance during their marriage from a third party will remain the non-marital property of that spouse unless it has been titled to the other spouse. Any property that was acquired by the couple while living together but prior to marriage is not considered marital property.
Pensions And Retirement Assets
Pensions and retirement accounts may be considered part of the marital property pool, and the court can determine how these accounts will be distributed and what their values are. This is a very complex area of the law and there are many factors to consider, so it is best to get advice from an attorney.
The goal of the court in an equitable distribution state such as Maryland is to ensure that each party receives a fair distribution of assets, although it will not necessarily be equal. Men can petition to keep their full retirement account by forfeiting other assets. For example, they may elect to allow their former spouse to keep the family home in exchange for the ability to retain their full attire retirement account.
Contact An Experienced High Asset Divorce Attorney Today
If you are considering filing for divorce and have a complicated marital estate with substantial assets, contact SIEGELLAW today. Our family law attorneys are experienced in high-net-worth divorces and can help you pursue your goals. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation with a Maryland family law attorney.