How to Protect My Net Worth After Divorce?

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June 12, 2023Author: Grant Moher, Esq.

How to Protect My Net Worth After Divorce?

In 2020, there were 2.6 divorces per 1,000 marriages and 5.3 marriages per 1,000 in the state of Virginia. 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 Fairfax divorce attorney who can handle the process for you. The attorneys at Curran Moher Weis will address the complexities of your finances while also maintaining your privacy along the way.

Marriage rings over dollar bills.


Classifications of Property

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

Although Virginia strives to allocate assets during a divorce fairly, this does not mean that assets will be distributed evenly. It is wise to take extra measures to give yourself the best financial foothold.


Steps to Protect Your Property


Open Accounts in Your Name Only

If you are a non-working spouse, it is crucial 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 of all, 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

Virginia 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.

Update Your Will 

Thankfully, Virginia 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, appoint someone else to handle your estate, and receive your property upon your death.


A Fairfax Divorce Attorney at Your Side

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


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