6034 West Courtyard Drive, Suite 100, Austin, TX 78730

Facebook Twitter

Call Us Today


How Retirement Accounts Are Treated in a Texas High-Net-Worth Divorce

 Posted on June 27, 2023 in QDROs, Pensions and 401(k)s

TX divorce lawyerGoing through a high-net-worth divorce in Texas can be a complex and challenging process. One important aspect that often arises during such divorces is the treatment of retirement accounts. In this article, we will discuss the considerations and guidelines surrounding retirement accounts in a Texas high-net-worth divorce.

What Is a High-Net-Worth Divorce?

Divorce proceedings involving high-net-worth individuals often involve significant assets, and retirement accounts are no exception. Understanding how retirement accounts are treated in a Texas high-net-worth divorce is crucial to ensure a fair and equitable division of property.

Community Property State

In the state of Texas, community property principles apply to divorces, whereby assets acquired during the marriage are typically regarded as community property and subject to division between both spouses. This includes retirement accounts, considered marital assets unless specific circumstances dictate otherwise.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a court order that establishes the right of an alternate payee (usually the non-employee spouse) to obtain a portion of the retirement benefits of the employee spouse.

It is crucial to obtain a QDRO to divide retirement accounts properly and avoid any tax penalties or other complications. When substantial amounts of money have been saved for retirement, such as in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) or 401(k)s, a QDRO will be necessary to ensure the division is carried out according to the terms agreed upon in the divorce.

Valuation and Division of Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts, such as 401(k) plans, pensions, IRAs, and other similar plans, must be accurately valued and divided in a high-net-worth divorce. This process often requires the assistance of financial experts who can evaluate the present value of the accounts and determine the fair division based on various factors, including the duration of the marriage and the contributions made by each spouse.

Division of Community Property vs. Separate Property

In Texas, community property is subject to division between spouses during a divorce, while separate property is generally retained by the owning spouse. It is essential to establish whether retirement accounts are classified as community property or separate property, as this will impact how they are divided. Contributions made to a retirement account during the marriage are typically considered community property, while contributions made before or after the marriage may be classified as separate property.

Tax Implications

Dividing retirement accounts in a high-net-worth divorce may have significant tax implications. It is essential to consider the potential tax consequences associated with the division of retirement assets, such as early withdrawal penalties or tax liabilities. Consulting with a tax professional can help ensure that any potential tax implications are properly addressed and accounted for during the divorce process.

Contact an Austin Family Law Attorney

At Powers Kerr & Rashidi, PLLC, our Austin family law attorneys have a deep understanding of Texas divorce laws and experience in handling high-net-worth divorces, including the division of retirement accounts. Contact us for a consultation by dialing 512-610-6199.




Share this post:
Back to Top