The Division of Military Benefits in a Texas Divorce

The Division of Military Benefits in a Texas Divorce

In Texas, the division of military benefits during a divorce involves a unique set of considerations and rules. This process not only recognizes the specific nature of military service but also ensures fair treatment for both spouses. It involves the careful examination of benefits accrued during the marriage, ensuring that the sacrifices and contributions of both the military member and their spouse are equitably acknowledged and compensated in the settlement.

It would be ideal for your lives to be led without strife or hardship, but unfortunately, that can’t always be the case. Hardship can arrive at the foot of your door in the shape of a divorce. Today’s blog topic from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, is on the subject of dividing retirement benefits in a military divorce.

Military Retirement Benefits in a Nutshell

Unless you have researched the subject, you may not know exactly what is included in the retirement benefits that you or your spouse have earned through your career in the military.

Throughout your working lives, you may have accumulated a variety of financial accounts that contain money that you can utilize in retirement. 401(k) accounts, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), and pensions are just a few types of retirement plans available to people.

We will not go over each of these today, but it is a good idea to read into each of them so you can be aware of how each can impact you both in divorce and retirement.

What if Your Spouse Has the Retirement Plan in Their Name- Do You Get Credit for Having Saved Money?

The Division of Military Benefits in a Texas Divorce

To answer this question, we will examine whether the money was contributed to the retirement account before or after your marriage date.

If your spouse contributed the money before your marriage, Texas law considers these contributions their separate property, not subject to division in your divorce. Conversely, contributions made to a retirement account after your marriage date count as community property and are subject to division in your divorce.

Texas law, similar to its approach with bank accounts and income deposited during marriage, does not factor in whose name is on the retirement account or the money’s contributor.

The determining factor for credit allocation is the deposit timing, not whose name is on the account or the source of the deposits. Therefore, retirement accounts can be a mix of both community and separate property.

Does the Length of Your Marriage Have Anything to Do With Your Ability to Access Retirement Benefits in Divorce?

A lawyer’s favorite answer to give anyone when asked a question is: “It depends.” That response applies to the question I posed in the title of this section. We will need to examine the retirement account that is relevant to your case.

When you consider an IRA or 401(k), then the length of your marriage does not affect if the account is divisible in your divorce. However, a judge does not have to split these accounts straight down the middle. A just and right division of community property is the standard with which a judge would divide up any community property in your case- retirement accounts included.

An example to illustrate this point is if you and your spouse married later in life after your spouse had already contributed twenty years’ worth of income into her employer’s 401(k). Unfortunately, after only one year of marriage, you filed for divorce from your spouse.

In this situation, your spouse owns the first twenty years’ worth of retirement contributions as their separate property, and these are not subject to division in your divorce. However, the final year’s retirement savings qualify for division. Yet, a judge may not necessarily grant you a portion of it. Instead, they might award you other sums of money equivalent to the retirement account’s value, thus keeping the retirement savings undivided.

When it comes to pension plans, military retirement benefits, and social security benefits, there are different rules on how the length of your marriage can affect your eligibility to receive a portion of retirement funds upon divorce.

How Can You Find Out Whether or Not Your Spouse Even Has Any Retirement Benefits Saved?

Did you and your spouse rarely, if ever, discuss financial matters like retirement during your marriage? If so, then you can count yourself among the many, many Americans who are in the same boat as you. With the hurried pace of our day-to-day lives, it is not uncommon to focus on other, more pressing issues than down the road topics like retirement.

If you are contemplating a divorce, consider examining your spouse’s paycheck to see if deductions are being made for a retirement plan. If your spouse is a member of the military, then it is likely that their pension will send out periodic statements to your home and have a notation on each paycheck with the amount stated, which goes to their pension fund.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC.

The Division of Military Benefits in a Texas Divorce

Thank you for showing an interest in this vital topic. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this topic or any other in the field of family law, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Consultations with our licensed family law attorneys are free of charge and are available six days a week.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed estate planning and probate attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way to learn about the world of probate law and how the filing of a probate case may impact your family circumstances.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

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  3. Texas Divorce Attorney Explains Starting the TX Divorce Process
  4. Grounds for Divorce in Texas
  5. Filing for Divorce in Texas
  6. Texas Contested Divorce
  7. Alternative Dispute Resolution in Texas
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  9. Texas Out-Of-State, International Divorce & Military Divorce
  10. Why do divorces cost so much in Texas?
  11. Reduce stress and costs in a divorce by mediating your case
  12. How to budget for a cost-friendly divorce in Texas

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, KingwoodTomballThe Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris CountyMontgomery CountyLiberty County, Chambers CountyGalveston CountyBrazoria CountyFort Bend County, and Waller County.


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At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

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