When a couple is getting divorced in Austin, they will need to divide their community (shared/marital) property in a manner that is just and equitable, but not necessarily equal.
In addition to the obvious property types, like cars, bank accounts, and a shared home, a couple need also consider things like stocks, investments, and retirement accounts.
As such, if you are getting a divorce, the term “QDRO” or “qualified domestic relations order” is one that you should familiarize yourself with.
Here’s what you need to know about a qualified domestic relations order, Texas’ laws regarding QDROs, and how our Austin divorce attorney can help.
What Is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a legal order, signed by a judge at the time that you and your spouse divorce, that orders your or your ex-spouse’s employer to divide retirement benefits according to your divorce judgment.
Before an employer will divide a retirement account per your domestic relations order (i.e. your divorce settlement), they must know that the order is “qualified.” As such, a QDRO must be presented.
How Can I Obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?
Keep in mind that there are two parts to the QDRO: the domestic relations order, and the qualified part of the DRO.
The first part, obtaining a domestic relations order, refers to getting an order from a judge regarding the division of your retirement accounts. A DRO provides a spouse with the right to receive a portion of the benefits of an employee’s qualified retirement plan.
This is something that you and your spouse can negotiate privately, or ask a court to decide for you. In either case, the judge must sign off on the agreement/order before it goes into effect.
Once an order exists, it must be qualified. This means that it must meet various requirements, such as naming the plan participant and the relevant time period, as well as the amount that is to be divided between parties and how division should occur.
Unfortunately, getting a QDRO can take time – don’t expect to receive your share of retirement benefits immediately. You may be able to obtain a QDRO at the time that your divorce is finalized; if not, you can go back to the court later and request that your QDRO is signed.
How Our Experienced Austin Divorce Lawyer Can Help
Understanding how assets, including retirement benefits, are divided in a divorce can be complicated enough; trying to figure out how you’ll actually get paid the retirement benefits to which you’re entitled after a divorce is finalized can be overwhelming.
At the Law Office of Ben Carrasco PLLC, our experienced Austin divorce lawyer can help you to understand Texas’ property division laws, how to negotiate your divorce settlement, and how to obtain a QDRO to ensure you’re paid.
To learn more about how we can assist you and why working with an attorney is recommended, please call us today or contact us directly by sending us a message.