Your Divorce and Your Ex’s Pension: What You Should Know
When you’re married, the financial decisions that you and your spouse make affect both of you. The money you put towards retirement becomes your plan for the future, and a pension becomes a crucial part of that plan. So, when you divorce, it’s important to consider your pension.
Division of Pensions in Texas Divorces
Texas is one of nine states that are community property jurisdictions. Divorcing in a community property jurisdiction means that property you and your spouse acquire during the marriage is considered to be equally owned by both of you (with a few exceptions). It’s then divided between you.
Courts consider a pension that you or your spouse earned during the marriage to be community property. In a divorce, the pension is subject to division—either by a judge in court or an agreement between you and your spouse in mediation.
The pension should be included in the divorce agreement as property to be divided. However, a separate order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will allow you to gain control of the pension funds. The QDRO lists the specific details, including when the payments should be paid out and whom they should go to.
Enforcing a Court Order and Getting Access to a Pension
If your divorce agreement outlined pension division but you never got a QDRO, it’s probably not too late. Texas law allows you to go back in time and get one.
Sometimes, years after the divorce, a former spouse refuses to retire or to give you access to the pension funds you are supposed to receive. If that is the case, you can reach out to our legal team for help in getting the court to enforce the court order. When one spouse is acting in bad faith to prevent you from gaining access to a pension that is rightfully yours, the court can step in and protect your interests.
Talk With an Attorney About Your Rights to a Pension
The law is complex, and the outcome of a case often depends on very particular facts—especially when you have a pension. The only way to get answers that apply to your situation is to talk with a lawyer.