Division of Benefits and Retirement Accounts
One of the more challenging issues in a Texas divorce is separation of benefits and retirement interests accrued either by one or both spouses. Numerous issues must be considered before a settlement can be made properly, and because of the technical nature of this you should work with a Bryan divorce attorney.
Texas Is a Community Property State
What must first be considered is the fact that Texas is a community property state. As such, any assets acquired during the marriage will be considered to belong equally to both parties, even if only one earned them. The ramifications for retirement and other benefit accounts should be clear: if you divorce and the assets were acquired during the marriage you will be entitled to only half.
Complications Inherent in the Division of Assets
On the other hand, if you began working for, say, X Corporation before you were married, and remained there until you were divorced, only those benefits accrued during the time you were married will be considered marital property. This matter can be even further complicated if during part of your marriage you lived in a state where community property was not the law. You would be best to advise an attorney about such a situation.
Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans
It is also important for spouses to understand that most benefit plans fit into one of two categories:
- Defined Benefit: This is a retirement plan in which, once you are fully vested, you will receive a pre-defined benefit at retirement each month
- Defined Contribution: This type of retirement plan is based upon your contributions to an individual account. Many teacher retirement plans fall into this category. By this, you receive the amount that you contributed plus the amount the company matched, provided you were vested, plus interest in most cases.
Dividing these plans is similar to what was mentioned previously. Any contributions made before you were married remain with that individual; it is only those contributions made after the marriage was effective that are considered community property. It is worth noting that the court will value the retirement plan as of the date of the divorce, and not the value projected for when the affected spouse actually retires.
Call a Bryan Divorce Attorney for Assistance
Division of assets can be a very difficult aspect of divorce. When retirement and other benefit plans are at issue, matters can become very complex. Call a Peterson divorce attorney today to arrange a consultation at Peterson Law Group 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.