Divorce can be a challenging point in any person’s life, but those who are parents face additional difficulties during the process. Historically, courts have favored the mother in cases of divorce, providing greater custody and visitation rights to the female partner in the relationship leaving fathers feeling unfairly treated.
However, a divorce settlement should be equitable in every aspect, and a skilled legal team can assist fathers in presenting sufficient evidence for equal treatment. This process begins with understanding the most important elements of a divorce settlement on which fathers should be focused.
Here are the must-have elements in a Maryland divorce settlement agreement for fathers and the means by which greater success in these areas can be pursued.
Child Custody Agreement
When a divorce occurs, one of the primary considerations that fathers must face is child custody. The court will factor in numerous elements when determining custody, including the income of both parents, living arrangements, proximity to schools, and in some cases, the preference of the child. Child custody is not a 100 to 0 proposition—that is, both parents may retain some custody, and each can be assigned visitation proportional to that custody.
Statistically, only 26.1% of a child’s time is spent with their father post-divorce in Maryland. Be sure to include a robust child custody agreement as part of any divorce settlement, and ensure that it includes not only a division of childcare hours but also the proper restrictions, such as what happens if the other parent violates their parenting agreement, and who is the default when one parent is unavailable during scheduled custodial time.
Proof of Non-Marital Assets
The man of a relationship is broadly associated with being the higher income earner, which means that during a divorce, it is more likely for the man to lose assets than the woman.
However, fathers seeking to preserve their assets should work to establish a thorough documentation basis for any of their non-marital assets—that is, assets that were accumulated prior to the marriage. In Maryland, non-marital assets are not available for redistribution, allowing male parents to preserve some of their property and savings.
Child Support Provisions
In Maryland, it is possible for the court to order a child custody arrangement without including child support. If the father of the child will be taking substantial or primary custody of the child, it is important for them to ensure that they are receiving proper compensation to pay for the needs of the minor, including food, housing, clothing, and school supplies.
Be sure to investigate whether child support provisions have been included in the divorce settlement agreement, and do not assume they are automatically included as part of the custody arrangements.
As with child support, alimony is not guaranteed during a divorce. Alimony is a payment from one former spouse to the other to assist them in transitioning from a joint income household to a single income.
Alimony is determined based on the lifestyles, potential risks and disabilities, earning potential, and more of each partner, which means that fathers are within their rights to pursue alimony from their spouse.
A combination of alimony and child support can help primary or full-custody fathers to fund the necessary supplies to raise their child(ren). It is strongly encouraged that you work with a legal team to demonstrate the need for alimony through evidence of financial insolvency, health issues, insufficient pay, planned childcare expenses, or other means.
Favorable Division of Property
Property is divided equitably in Maryland during a divorce, but some elements are more important than others. For instance, both parties are likely pushing to acquire the residence or a vehicle.
Fathers who need their vehicle to visit their child or who are taking a large portion of custody responsibilities can leverage these elements to ensure that they receive the assets that are most beneficial to them.
Invest time in securing comprehensive paperwork on important assets—especially those to which the father primarily contributed. If the father paid the mortgage payments alone during the marriage, he may have a greater chance of securing the home, especially if he will also be caring for the child the majority of the time.
The court will need to see evidence in order to grant this arrangement, and a legal team can assist in compiling the proper paperwork.
Get Divorce Assistance from a Legal Team
Divorce is an especially challenging time for fathers, but with proper legal representation and adequate preparation, it does not have to be unfair. The professionals at SIEGELLAW have successfully represented men in divorce cases to achieve favorable custody, asset, and alimony or child support agreements. Contact SIEGELLAW to schedule a consultation and protect your rights as a father during a divorce.