Among the challenges faced during divorce proceedings, the division of assets among those involved can be of particular concern. While a person’s gender is not considered during the reallocation of assets, other factors can play a significant role in whether you keep your valuables and accounts or divide them with the other party.
To best shield your assets from being claimed, you must first understand what is at risk, what cannot be taken, and how these decisions are made. For men in Frederick, Maryland, the courts will primarily evaluate the following types of assets as potentially eligible for division with the former spouse.
To protect your property, start by learning what is at risk so you can collect the appropriate documentation and make financial decisions to protect as many of your assets as possible.
Marital vs. Non-Marital Property
Before you can determine which of your possessions and accounts may be jeopardized by a divorce, you will need to know what you own as marital property as well as what constitutes non-marital property.
Marital property includes investments, purchases, and assets gained after your marriage was finalized. These are considered to be jointly owned, and therefore, may be jointly divided. However, non-marital property is that which was acquired before you were married.
For instance, if you invested $50,000 into a Roth IRA before marriage, that money is solely yours, and it cannot be clawed back by the spouse, because it is not marital property. Many types of accounts, possessions, and investments can be categorized as marital or nonmarital assets.
If you have marital physical assets such as a jointly purchased car or home, these are eligible for redistribution or sale, after which their profits are to be divided as determined by the court.
However, one of the best strategies for men seeking to mitigate the risk to their physical assets is to provide evidence indicating their necessity.
For example, if a man can prove that he cannot find similar accommodation in a reasonable amount of time, or if doing so would cause him to move too far from work or childcare, the court may elect not to utilize a home as an asset up for division.
Instead, it may grant the home to the person who needs it, with the other party divesting assets to buy out the residing individual.
Each person’s retirement accounts can be split within the balances that constitute marital property. In some cases, a spouse may have access to division of the other party’s pension or other benefits. Retirement accounts may include 401(k)s, Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs, 457s, annuities, and more.
Depending on the type of account, accessing the funds when property is divided may cause penalties or fees for early withdrawal if the individual is not yet at retirement age. Courts can typically avoid these penalties by providing legal documentation of the divorce and subsequent asset reallocation.
Bank accounts containing savings or income earned after the marriage was made legal are eligible for asset reallocation.
Do not attempt to move funds or hide them in an effort to reduce the apparent available balance; courts can claw back money transferred in this manner, and you may also face severe penalties that ultimately reduce your assets further than the original ruling.
Any investments in ETFs, mutual funds, stocks, real estate, and more can be at risk during a divorce. As with other categories of assets, any investments made before the marriage may be shielded; however, due to the nature of compounding interest, only the originally invested balance may be safe.
Distribution of assets in divorce is not limited only to money accounts and assets above a certain value threshold. Any physical assets that accompany the spouses, such as household goods, art, and furniture, will be eligible for redistribution during asset reallocation in a divorce.
In certain instances, selling these assets in order to provide their monetary value instead of the asset itself may be permitted depending on the agreement between parties.
However, selling physical assets in an attempt to prevent the other person from claiming them can result in legal consequences.
Get Help Protecting Your Assets in a Divorce
If you are facing a divorce in Frederick, MD and need to protect your assets, the best option is to consult with a legal professional who can advise you on the proper evidence to provide and the manner in which to structure arguments in your favor.
The attorneys at SIEGELLAW assist men in defending their rights and property during divorce. Contact SIEGELLAW to schedule a consultation with one of our divorce attorneys to protect your assets in a divorce.