In a Texas divorce, retirement accounts (individual retirement accounts, defined-benefit, defined-contribution plans, etc.), military retirement, bank accounts, investment and brokerage accounts, and stocks are ALL divisible by the Court, no matter what spouses’ name is on the account.
Below are a few frequently asked questions regarding splitting assets in a complex divorce:
What if you or your spouse owned the account prior to marriage and have contributed to it both before and during the marriage?
The portion earned prior to marriage will be characterized as the separate property of that spouse. However, that spouse will need to prove the amount he or she had in the account at the time of marriage by clear and convincing evidence. If they cannot, the court will presume that the entire value is community property.
If your spouse is in the military, are you entitled to a portion of his retired pay if he is not yet retired?
Generally, yes, if you have been married for at least 10 years during which time he or she was also in the service. However, it is important to reach out to a skilled family law attorney with experience in military divorces to get advice regarding your specific situation.
Are you entitled to your spouses deferred compensation or bonuses?
Generally, yes, for the amount that was earned during the marriage.
Did you or your spouse waste community assets?
A waste claim is oftentimes included in a party’s pleadings if they believe that their spouse spent large sums of money frivolously without their consent.
More to Consider: Retirement Benefits and Valuation
In addition to the above issues, parties are oftentimes at odds over valuations, valuation dates, and whether or not existing loans should be included in the non-employee spouse’s portion of the retirement benefit. It is important that those issues are negotiated prior to the entry of the Final Decree of Divorce, as the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will address those matters. If they are left out of the final decree, it will be difficult to negotiate them later.
Divorce can be a confusing, stressful, and complicated process. Knowing what to expect can help ease worry. Read more frequently asked questions about Divorce in Texas.