There’s more than one way to split retirement accounts in divorce

| Mar 23, 2020 | Uncategorized |

The closer you are to retirement age, the more nerve-racking potential divorce could seem to you. Not only do you need to worry about life on your own after years of marriage, but you also have to consider how a divorce could impact your retirement.

The thought of dividing your assets at this point in your life may make you nervous, or you may worry because all of the retirement accounts you have are in your spouse’s name. Maybe you don’t even have a traditional savings account but instead a pension through their employer.

The good news is that you very likely have some shared ownership interest in retirement accounts in pensions, including those held solely by your spouse, which means the courts will likely divide them as part of the divorce process. There are several ways in which the courts could split these assets in a Texas divorce.

The courts can order the division of the account or balance it with other assets

In the event that you have a financial account like a 401k, the most straightforward way for the courts to split the funds is usually through issuing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). The QDRO from the Texas family courts instruct a plan administrator to split the account in a specific manner, and because it is a court order, that means you don’t have to worry about any tax penalties or fees due to an early withdrawal.

Sometimes, the courts will look at the value of the accounts and use that amount to offset other assets that they choose to allocate to one spouse. In some cases, it is also possible for the courts to order spousal support or alimony as a means of allocating a percentage of a pension to the spouse who won’t receive it directly.