Property division is one of the most difficult and complicated aspects of divorce. Pension accounts are considered a marital asset and will be subject to equitable distribution. The divvying up of a pension account requires astute attention to legal details because it’s so easy to make costly mistakes.
If you are going through or contemplating a divorce, it’s in your best interests to consult a divorce attorney for counsel. A good attorney will be able to guide you through the asset division process, secure any pension benefits you’re due, and help you arrange for an alimony and pension agreement with which you feel comfortable.
Pension Benefits & Divorce
Regardless of whether your or your spouse’s pension is private or government-sponsored, it is usually subject to division. Retirement accounts are often couples’ largest asset, so ensuring it’s properly divided or leveraged is pretty crucial. Each pension or retirement account is processed differently based on its type.
- Private pensions: Private pensions, IRAs, and 401(k)s are divided by using a document referred to as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO. Plan administrators are the ones who approve QDROs. Failure to properly draft and file a QDRO can result in forfeiture of benefits or have serious tax consequences, so make sure to hire an attorney who with experience handling them.
- Military pension: Divorced spouses of servicemembers are eligible for military pensions, as per The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act. The details about the division will need to be addressed during (not after) the divorce, and approved by an appropriate court.
- Social Security: Those who stayed married for more than ten years might also qualify to receive retirement benefits based on an ex’s record. Your lawyer can advise you accordingly.
Determining Spousal Support
Spousal support or alimony isn’t applicable to every divorce. There are certain threshold factors that the courts will look at when determining alimony. Generally, the courts will only grant spousal support when one spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his/her reasonable needs considering the standard of living established during the marriage, and/or when she can’t adequately support herself, reviewing relevant circumstances.
Regardless of whether you’re the spouse requesting support or the potential paying spouse, you’ll want to make sure you have legal representation before you go to court or sign any papers. There are certain events that can cause you to lose alimony. Professional negotiation is often very critical to ensuring that you wind up with a fair spousal support agreement.
Legal Counsel for Divorces in Texas
Keep in mind that there is room for creative leverage when dividing assets such as pension and when determining spousal support. Call The Texas Divorce Lawyer to speak to a divorce attorney that’s skilled with negotiations, litigation, and creative solutions for tough divorce issues. Call today for a consultation: 214-290-8001.