Wretirementhen going through a divorce in Dallas, Texas, it is important to gather all the information you can regarding your retirement accounts such as the start date, the most recent statement and the plan administrator’s contact information. Any retirement acquired during the marriage is community property and is thus divisible by the Court.

When it comes to dividing a retirement account such as a 401K or a pension, extra steps are required in addition to the final divorce decree dividing such accounts. In order to divide a 401k or Pension, an additional order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order needs to be signed by the Court. The Qualified Domestic Relations Order is referred to as a QDRO.

Once the QDRO has been signed by the Judge, it is then sent to the retirement plan administrator for processing. Many plan administrators are not located within Texas and most have their own QDRO that they prefer for participants to use. Some QDROs can be rather complicated and it is recommended that the proposed QDRO be submitted to the plan administrator for approval prior to having the Judge sign the QDRO.

The QDRO essentially divides a retirement account into two separate accounts. The QDRO will state the division of the retirement account shall occur upon a date certain. This means that the retirement account will be divided as of the date of divorce or another date as stated in the QDRO. The QDRO will also assign either a percentage or dollar amount for each spouse being awarded an interest in the retirement as of the date certain stated in the QDRO. If a spouse has taken a loan from their retirement account, the spouse that is to assume responsibility of that loan will need to be specifically stated in the QDRO.

 

Print:
EmailTweetLikeLinkedIn
Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.