Total Assets, Debts and Net Worth Analysis

How Do I Protect My Net Worth After Divorce?

patrickcrawford | December 15, 2022

In 2020, there were 2.6 divorces per 1,000 marriages and 5.3 marriages per 1,000 in the state of Maryland. That lines up with the national average of nearly 50% of marriages ending in divorce. 

During the pandemic, many couples found themselves filing for divorce. The stressors in a divorce are only magnified when dealing with finances. Although many people refer to getting a divorce as “financial suicide,” it is often the right choice compared to staying in a failing union.

If you find yourself filing for divorce, you need a divorce attorney in Annapolis who can handle the process for you. The attorney at Law Office of Patrick Crawford will handle the complexities of your finances while also maintaining your privacy along the way.

Classifications of Property

Maryland is one of many states that uses an equitable distribution of assets. This means that assets will be distributed based on the guidelines dictated by state law. Equitable distribution only applies to assets that are marital property.

Although Maryland strives to fairly allocate assets during a divorce, this does not mean that assets will be distributed evenly. It is wise to take extra measures to give yourself the best financial foothold. Will Alimony be an Issue in Your Divorce Case

Steps to Protect Your Property

Open Accounts in Your Name Only

If you are a non-working spouse, it is important to build your credit. If you have been a stay-at-home mom, your credit history will be lacking, preventing you from becoming financially independent following the divorce. 

First off, you will want to open a bank account in your name alone. Secondly, you will want to close any jointly-held accounts and credit cards, in order to prevent your soon-to-be former spouse from accusing you of being a spendthrift. Third, you will want to purchase your own car insurance and file for a vehicle title change if your car is owned under your spouse’s name.

Sort Out Monthly Bills

Coordinate who will be paying which bills. If possible, have a 50/50 split for paying bills. Keep in mind all of your monthly obligations, such as electricity, heat, rent/mortgage, water/sewer, internet/cable, and other monthly subscriptions.

Be Prepared to Share Retirement Money

Maryland law regarding retirement accounts prohibits a spouse from taking more than 50% of the marital share. The most common types of retirement accounts are: 401(K) plans, 403(b) plans, and IRAs (traditional and Roth). 

Since both 401(K) and 403(b) plans are defined contribution plans, employees choose their investments and contributions are taken out of their paycheck, often with a matching contribution from the employer. In a divorce, the court must issue a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to allow an employer to share an employee’s retirement income with an ex-spouse. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are most commonly distributed as stipulated by the Final Decree of Divorce. Annapolis Spousal Support Lawyer

Update Your Will 

Thankfully, Maryland law will revoke any distribution of property to a former spouse upon a person’s divorce. That being said, it is a good idea to update your will, appointing someone else to handle your estate and to receive your property upon your death.

An Annapolis Divorce Attorney at Your Side

If you find yourself filing for divorce, know that you are not alone. The firm of Patrick Crawford has successfully helped clients through the court process, and we are here to help you. Contact an experienced attorney today.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Patrick Crawford, who has more than 16 years of legal experience practicing family law.