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TX divorce lawyerOne of the most common points of contention in any divorce is how a couple’s assets will be divided upon dissolution of their marriage. Although most couples understand that this will involve dividing relatively common assets, such as bank accounts, the family home, and vehicles, it’s important to remember that more unusual property, like retirement accounts, will also need to be divided. In most cases, at least some of the contents of a retirement account are considered marital property, which means that they must be divided equitably between the spouses. While this could mean that each spouse receives an equal share of the benefits, this is not always true, as courts are generally guided by what would qualify as equitable distribution when making their decisions.

Whether your retirement account pays out on a regular basis or you can withdraw as you see fit depends in large part on the type of account in question and the contents of your Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). To learn more about dividing your own retirement account upon divorce, please contact a member of our high asset divorce legal team today.

What Is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?

QDROs, or Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, are court orders that lay out the ground rules for how a retirement account will be used following a divorce, including how its contents will be divided. These documents are necessary for most types of retirement accounts, including 401(k)s and IRAs and are used to verify a person’s right to receive a portion of the benefits paid out of a retirement account. Basically, this means that QDROs are used to name a former spouse as an alternate payee upon divorce, even if he or she didn’t actually participate in the plan.

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Texas family lawyerCouples who are going through a high asset divorce often experience certain difficulties that are not faced by other couples. For instance, because the parties in these situations have a wide range of assets to divide, the dissolution process can become much more difficult, especially if the couple disagrees about who should retain what property. Dividing retirement funds can be particularly complicated, so if you and your spouse are going through a divorce and you have questions or concerns about dividing the contents of a retirement fund or pension, it is critical to speak with an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can ensure that you receive an equitable portion of your family’s assets.

The Importance of Accurate Record-Keeping

Unlike other types of accounts, retirement funds are not always checked on a regular basis. For this reason, many people forget how much has been contributed to their account at any given time. While this may not cause any serious difficulties in a person’s day to day life, it can become a problem during a divorce when having accurate and extensive records of account contributions can be instrumental in determining who will receive what portion of an account’s funds. This is because how a court divides a couple’s property depends on when the assets were accumulated. For instance, property owned prior to marriage will remain in the sole possession of the party who purchased or received it. Assets accumulated during the marriage, including the contents of a retirement account, on the other hand, will be divided equitably between the couple.

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