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Strategizing Retirement Division in Divorce

As you embark on the path of divorce, understanding the complexities of dividing retirement benefits is crucial. This intricate aspect of divorce, particularly for those over 50, demands careful consideration and strategic planning. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, will guide you through this process. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the critical steps of identifying and dividing retirement assets. We’ll discuss early disclosure of your spouse’s retirement benefits and the nuances of Texas law regarding division of assets. 

The Importance of Choosing the Right Attorney

When venturing into divorce proceedings, your most crucial asset is your ability to discern and trust a competent attorney. Since you’re likely not an attorney yourself and may have never needed one before, it’s vital to rely on your instincts and the impressions you form after meeting prospective attorneys. Only after comparing how various divorce attorneys approach your case can you make an informed decision on whom to hire. With the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, we aim to guide you through this process, helping you navigate potential pitfalls with proper guidance and teamwork.

Early Disclosure of Spouse’s Retirement Benefits

A significant factor in divorce, especially for individuals over 50, is the division of retirement accounts. If your spouse has a long-standing career, they likely possess retirement accounts that may be subject to division. Informing your attorney about these accounts early in the process is crucial. Your attorney can then initiate discussions or discovery requests with your spouse’s legal team to ascertain the details of these accounts. Understanding the rules for each retirement plan is vital, as this knowledge influences how you negotiate and prepare for potential division in mediation.

Comprehensive Review of All Retirement Accounts

Spouses often have multiple retirement accounts, such as pensions, 401(k)s, or ESOPs. Although these accounts may have been collectively referred to as ‘retirement accounts’ during your marriage, they can actually consist of various individual accounts. Your attorney must identify each account as either community or separate property, given that contributions made during the marriage are generally considered community property. Achieving this necessitates thorough discovery to account for all such accounts, even those from previous employers, in the divorce proceedings.