Although money saved for retirement is kept separate from liquid cash and short-term investments, it is just as much of an asset in the eyes of a divorce court as any other form of real or financial property. Accordingly, the money stored in 401k, IRAs, and deferred compensation accounts could be factored into the property division process during a divorce in the state of Texas.
Dividing retirement accounts in a West Lake Hills divorce can be a complex and emotional endeavor, especially if you are unfamiliar with how state law treats these kinds of assets in this particular context. An experienced property division attorney could help you understand what to expect from this process and, once retained, work tirelessly to protect your financial interests every step of the way.
When Could Retirement Savings Be Subject to Division?
In the context of a divorce, property that a party to the divorce possessed before the marriage and did not comingle with their spouse’s property is considered separate property, whereas all property acquired during the marriage is considered community property. Courts have the authority to divide community property between both parties to a divorce regardless of whose name is on it or which party brought it into the marriage.
Any contributions made to retirement accounts during a marriage may be subject to division during an ensuing divorce, even if the retirement account was only in one party’s name. This means that depending on when contributions were made, retirement accounts can include both separate property and community property, which can greatly complicate and prolong the divorce process.
However, just because an West Lake Hills divorce court can divide pension and retirement benefits between divorcing spouses does not mean the court will always enforce a perfectly equal split of available assets. For example, state law expressly does not require that money stored in 401k accounts be divided equally between spouses.
Ensuring a Fair Division of Retirement Assets
When it comes to dividing retirement accounts in a West Lake Hills divorce, there is generally a lengthy paper trail indicating the financial value and location of various savings that could be key to streamlining the divorce process. A qualified attorney could help track down pay stubs, earnings statements, tax returns, and even government records to determine the amount of divisible assets saved in a particular account or set of accounts.
Additionally, since retirement savings make up only a portion of all the community property in a marital estate, spouses who are willing to cooperate with one another during divorce proceedings may be able to arrange an equitable distribution of marital assets that does not require splitting up or cashing out retirement savings.
A West Lake Hills Attorney Could Help with Dividing Retirement Accounts During a Divorce
The exact terms of a divorce agreement will vary dramatically depending on the parties involved, as well as their approach to the division of community property. Unfortunately, there could be trouble when factoring retirement savings into an equitable distribution agreement, as these complex financial instruments can be tricky to understand and even harder to split apart during a divorce.
You could have a much easier time dividing retirement accounts in a West Lake Hills divorce with guidance from qualified legal counsel. Call today to learn more.