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Texas Divorce: Dividing Retirement and Pension Benefits

When people think about divorce, they typically focus on the division of their property—such as their home, cars, and the like. The division of retirement assets can also play a critical role in this division—and can be important to protect your financial future. As with almost everything that’s associated with divorce, however, it’s complicated, and calculating your fair share very well may not include dividing things right down the middle. 

Retirement Assets

All income earned during a Texas marriage is considered—in the eyes of the law—joint, community property. If either—or both—of you have acquired retirement savings throughout your marriage, including IRAs, 401(k)s, deferred compensation accounts, or pensions, that money belongs to both of you—regardless of whose name is on the account. Any retirement savings accrued before the marriage, however, is separate property.

Social Security

Social Security is a bit different. Social Security typically isn’t divided upon divorce unless specific conditions are met (whereby you may be entitled to 50 percent of your ex’s benefits):

  • You were married for at least 10 years
  • You haven’t remarried since your divorce was finalized
  • You are at least 62 years old

Further, the amount to which you are entitled may depend upon your own work history. Your Texas divorce attorney will carefully review the intricacies of this process with you.

Dividing Your Ex’s Pension

If your ex or soon-to-be ex has a pension, it can be divided in one of two ways. If your ex is still working for the sponsoring employer at the time of your divorce, the court will ascertain the community portion via a calculation method that divides the number of months you were married while the pension was in place by the total number of months that your ex worked for that employer. This amount is then multiplied by the value of the monthly pension benefit your ex would receive at the date of divorce (regardless of whether he or she is eligible to retire at that time).

If your ex is already retired at the time you divorce, then the community portion calculation simply involves dividing the number of months you were married (while your ex was employed at that job) by the total number of months he or she worked in the position.

There are also other scenarios related to the division of retirement assets that may play out during mediation—or in court. When it comes to the division of retirement assets, it’s complicated; you need experienced legal counsel.

If Your Divorce Involves Retirement Assets, Consult with an Experienced Sugar Land, Texas, Divorce Lawyer Today

The division of assets in a divorce is always complicated. The division of retirement assets can make it more so. To learn more about your options, contact The Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., in Sugar Land, Texas, today. Attorney Frank J. Vendt has the experience and commitment to help protect your assets and your financial future. To schedule a consultation with Mr. Vendt, call our office today at (832) 263-6770 or send us an email through our online contact form.

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