Men must protect their rights in a divorce because no one else will. Women are often unfairly favored in a divorce due to outdated cultural norms and harmful stereotypes. To counteract this bias against men, divorcing men and fathers must protect their two main assets: finances and custody.
What are a man’s rights in divorce? New Jersey law follows the concept of equitable distribution, meaning that any property acquired during a marriage must be divided equitably. This is not the same thing as assets being divided “equally.” If you contributed more to the marriage, that should be reflected in the divorce settlement. You are also entitled to your premarital assets, assuming you can prove they were acquired before the marriage. You and your spouse can distribute your property amicably during your divorce, or the court can order you to do so.
There are a lot of variables that go into the equitable distribution determination, including:
- Length of marriage
- Income by each party
- Standard of living
- Age and physical health
- Economic circumstances
- Income and earning capacity
Men in New Jersey should ask for a prenuptial agreement if they have a lot of assets going into the marriage or own a business. The agreement will help safeguard men’s rights in divorce, especially his assets and finances. Of course, this tip may not be helpful for you if your marriage is already ending. Regardless, it’s important to remember you do have rights when getting a divorce.
1. Fight for Your Rights
The first step in protecting your rights is to fight for them. Hire a lawyer. Argue your case. Make sure that the divorce is fair and just – not one-sided. If your ex is requesting a ridiculous division of assets or custody arrangement, you have every right to fight back by countering with your own reasonable requests.
You will have to give up assets in a divorce, and you might have to pay alimony and child support, but you should always fight for lower payments and a fair distribution of assets. Why admit defeat as soon as divorce paperwork is filed? Don’t be taken advantage of just because your marriage is ending.
You have a right to fight for:
- Appropriate asset division (items, bank accounts, cash,etc)
- Real estate
- Child custody
- Retirement accounts
You don’t deserve financial hardship after years of accumulating assets. Fight to protect your rights and you’ll be on a much stronger footing when getting divorced.
2. Fight for Joint Custody
Children are routinely put into their mother’s care during a divorce. Fighting for joint custody is not only advantageous for your relationship with your children, but it also impacts your financial obligations in a divorce. Men’s rights for custody in divorce have been altered over time, and you have more options now than ever before.
Studies have shown children fare best after a divorce if they have time with both loving parents. A father’s role is precious and necessary. If your ex is a narcissist or you’re going through a high conflict divorce, she may try to keep the kids away from you. Don’t be led to believe this is actually the best option. You deserve to maintain an active role in your kids’ lives.
Alimony and child support payments are less when you spend more time with your kids.
If you only have your children on the weekend, you’ll pay much more in support than a father who has 50/50 joint custody. Times have changed, and more courts are allowing joint custody agreements so that the child has a positive upbringing with both his mother and father in his life regularly.
3. Forfeit Assets for Finances
Assets have value, and in equitable distribution, the goal of the court is to ensure that all parties are given a fair distribution of the assets. Men are often left paying high alimony and child support payments, but they’re also required to split bank and retirement accounts. With negotiation out of court, you may be able to avoid these expensive monthly payments by offering other assets up as a lump sum.
Retirement accounts are a major part of a man’s future, and if his account is cut in half, the chances of having a comfortable retirement are slim. You can fight to keep the entirety of your retirement account by forfeiting other assets. A good example of this may be allowing your ex to keep the house and you be allowed to keep your retirement account. You have many options, but the only way to know what’s right for your unique circumstances is to work with a professional. Contact a lawyer who focuses only on family law, and list all of the things that are important to you in your divorce, such as:
- Real estate
- Retirement accounts
- Child custody
- Sentimental items
Explain your concerns and desires with your lawyer so that you can forge a plan to protect your rights and meet your divorce goals.
There’s a lot that goes into a divorce, but the first step to success is protecting your rights and fighting for what matters most: your children and your financial future.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm focusing on men’s custody, divorce and men’s rights in other family law cases. Attorney Brad Micklin was named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. Brad has experience working with securing alimony for men. You can read more on this topic by visiting our divorce blog. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.