Mens Rights Question:
My wife and I have been married to each other for almost 16 years. We have no children together. I want to end the marriage. I am primarily concerned with minimizing the financial damage to myself both in terms of dividing assets and any potential maintenance obligations.
As there are no concerns about custody or parenting, should I still consider engaging a firm that focuses on issues concerning fathers such as Cordell & Cordell?
While the challenges facing men in divorce are highlighted by the disparities in custody battles, the disparities in financial divisions in divorces are just as significant. Our firm’s emphasis is on all issues men face in divorce, not just the custodial issues of fathers.
Often men apply “linear logic” to what is perceived as a simple math problem in resolving the financial issues in a divorce. Unfortunately, neither your soon to be ex-wife nor the law necessarily apply such straight-forward formulas. Opposing party will assert any available arguments, cloaked in terms of equity or fairness, to obtain a disparate distribution of assets and debts.
The financial division requires a careful review of the assets and debts, not just the bottom line. The history of every asset and debt of both parties, regardless of whose name is on the account or property, is necessary to determine whether there is a basis to attribute more debts or less assets to opposing party. Depending upon the extent of the assets and debts, forensic accounting may be required to provide demonstrative evidence as to the assets and debts for use in court. Obtaining full disclosure of all assets and debts in your wife’s name can be a major undertaking, assuming she has not been providing you full disclosure during the course of the marriage.
Developing a clear, comprehensive analysis of the finances is key to presenting the court with a compelling argument on the division of the marital estate. Asset valuations, particularly the valuation of business interests, may be required. Often the nature of the assets or business also require a protective, or confidentiality, order entered by the court to keep the information from being released outside the divorce process and possibly adversely affecting one or both parties.
Retirement account divisions are not necessarily straight forward, either. The nature of the retirement account or benefit may include issues of when the benefits may be paid out or the inclusion of survivor benefits and resulting cost or decrease in your benefits. While Social Security and certain other government benefits are not divisible in a divorce, the fact the wife will receive such benefits may affect the division necessary to address her retirement or maintenance needs.
Spousal maintenance requires an evaluation of the employment history and potential of the opposing party, as well as a break down of the claimed need for maintenance. A vocational evaluation may be needed if the wife is asserting an inability to work or lack of job skills. The information obtained may be used to limit the amount or duration of any maintenance, or to support an award of additional property instead of maintenance.
Finally, the tax implications of the property or maintenance division can be a major factor in the final award. Cordell & Cordell has attorneys with the experience to recognize which issues are involved in a given case, as well as attorneys with finance and taxation backgrounds to help assess the issues and tax implications.
For the client who is concerned about a fair division of the marital assets, not just the “usual” settlement, and who is willing to assist counsel in understanding the marital finances, utilization of a firm that has experience in assessing the complex financial issues men face in divorce is essential.