As you prepare to get divorced, you probably have many financial concerns on your mind. Who keeps the house? How will the split impact taxes and costs of living? How will household assets be divided?
However, chances are good that you haven’t given much thought to one of the most significant financial assets that you own: retirement funds. These include pensions, 401(k) accounts, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), deferred compensation accounts and any other retirement plans. Next to the marital residence, these retirement funds are likely among your most significant assets subject to division. Therefore, you’ll want to work with an experienced divorce lawyer Round Rock, TX residents trust to determine how your retirement assets will be divided during your divorce process. The team at the Law Office of Jason Wright, PLLC has extensive experience with complex asset division challenges and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have on this subject.
What the Law Says and How Courts Treat Retirement Funds
Texas law makes clear that courts have the authority to divide retirement accounts, but it does not always specify how to do so or which factors to consider. Because Texas is a community property state, judges are interested in dividing retirement assets fairly and justly. But before that can be done, the court needs to determine both the total value of the retirement assets in question and what proportion is considered “community property.” This is a complex process, which is one of the many reasons why you’ll want to discuss your situation with a Round Rock, TX divorce lawyer instead of trying to navigate it yourself.
Not All Retirement Assets are Jointly Owned
It doesn’t matter whether the retirement account is in your name only (or your spouse’s name only). If value was added to the account during the marriage (through additional contributions and/or accrual of interest), that added value is community property and jointly owned by both spouses. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the entire balance of the account is subject to division.
Say, for instance, that you opened a 401(k) account when you were just 22 years old. But you didn’t marry your spouse until age 26. The first four years of your 401(k) contributions will be considered separate assets that are not subject to division. Once the court determines the total amount of retirement funds (from all sources) that can be considered community property, you’ll work with your Round Rock, TX divorce lawyer to secure a fair share of your assets.
Length of Marriage Matters for Some Retirement Assets
For most retirement accounts, length of marriage has no bearing on how they are or can be divided. But length of marriage does matter for:
These are matters you’ll want to discuss with your Round Rock, TX divorce lawyer. In some cases, you will need to have been married for at least 10 years to qualify for access to a portion of these benefits. In the case of military retirement, your portion as a military spouse will be based on the amount of time your spouse was serving while also married to you.
Hire a Lawyer with Knowledge and Experience
Getting the most out of your retirement benefits (your own or your share of your spouse’s) is crucial to your long-term financial security. And the way to maximize your personal share of these assets is to work with a Round Rock, TX divorce lawyer who understands the nuances of the law and how to utilize all legal remedies. That’s what you’ll find when you contact our firm. Call today to arrange your initial consultation. We look forward to meeting with you.