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shutterstock_556197010.jpgDuring the divorce process, a couple will need to divide multiple different types of marital property. In addition to physical property, spouses will also need to address ownership of financial accounts and other complex assets, including retirement accounts or pensions. When dividing retirement assets, spouses should use a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO. Understanding the purpose of these types of orders and the benefits they provide will ensure that spouses can protect their financial interests during the divorce process and in the years to come.

Dividing Funds in Retirement Accounts

For employer-sponsored retirement accounts such as 401Ks, a person will have a certain amount deducted from their income before paying taxes. The money saved, which will grow through investments made by the plan holder, will usually remain in an account until a person reaches retirement age, and they will pay taxes when the funds are withdrawn. 

During their divorce, a couple may agree that some of the funds in a retirement account in one spouse’s name will be withdrawn and transferred to the other spouse. However, simply withdrawing the amount will result in penalties if the account holder has not yet reached retirement age, and taxes will apply to the withdrawal. To avoid this, the court may issue a QDRO that will specify the amount that should be withdrawn and transferred to the other spouse. When a QDRO is provided to the plan holder, penalties and taxes will not apply to withdrawals, and the other spouse can roll the funds over to their own account.

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denton asset division lawyerWhen a couple chooses to end their marriage and get a divorce, disputes related to property division can become complex and contentious. Spouses will be required to divide all of their marital assets and debts, and disagreements about how to do so can be difficult to resolve. However, matters can become even more complicated if one spouse is accused of hiding assets in an attempt to avoid sharing them with the other spouse. In Texas, this is known as “fraud on the community,” and a spouse who is accused of committing this form of fraud may face consequences.

Addressing Issues Related to Hidden Assets

Community property consists of all assets and debts that a couple acquired during their marriage. This property must be divided between the spouses in a manner that is fair, ensuring that each party will have the necessary financial resources going forward. However, there are a variety of ways that a spouse may attempt to conceal assets in hopes that they will not have to share them with the other spouse. Methods of doing so may include:

  • Physically hiding money or property - A spouse may conceal cash in certain locations, such as a safe in their home, a safety deposit box at a bank, or other hiding spots. They may also use marital funds to purchase valuable items such as artwork or jewelry and then undervalue these items during the divorce process.

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Frisco divorce lawyerSeveral months ago, Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they were divorcing after almost 30 years of marriage. While many in the media and public voiced their surprise that the couple were splitting up after so many years, divorce among older couples – sometimes referred to as “gray divorce”  – is becoming quite common. Research shows that one in four people who file for divorce in the U.S. are over the age of 50 and more than half of those divorces involve marriages that had endured for at least two decades. 

While every divorce has similar issues to work through, there are some issues that are unique to older couples that younger couples usually do not have to consider when they split up. These issues – if not properly addressed – can leave a person unprepared for life after divorce. Having a Frisco divorce attorney protecting your interests can make a significant difference in how prepared you are.

Pensions and Other Benefits

One important issue that couples going through a divorce have to consider is how their pensions and other retirement accounts will be divided. Any retirement accounts and pensions will be divided using a court-issued Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). However, one issue that an older couple may face when dividing these accounts that a younger divorcing couple does not is that their retirement date is not that far away, and they may find themselves facing financial hardships they are unprepared for. If a spouse’s retirement account is suddenly 50 percent less than what they had planned on for retirement because their ex received the other half in the divorce settlement, that reduction can have a consequential effect on the quality of retirement life they will experience.

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Can I Get Alimony in My Texas Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Frisco divorce lawyerMost people think of divorce in terms of the personal or emotional implications. However, divorce can also bring about dramatic financial consequences – especially when a divorcing spouse is reliant on the other spouse’s income. If you are a stay-at-home mother or father, have a disability, or have otherwise not worked outside of the home in several years, you may be worried about supporting yourself after the divorce. You may wonder whether you qualify for alimony or spousal support. Read on to learn about alimony laws in Texas and what you can do if you wish to pursue alimony during your divorce.

Who Qualifies for Spousal Maintenance?

Alimony, called spousal maintenance in Texas law, can help a divorcing spouse cover necessary expenses until he or she is able to be financially self-supporting. However, spousal maintenance is not always awarded. In fact, Texas courts presume that spousal maintenance is not necessary unless the spouse requesting alimony can demonstrate a reasonable need for financial assistance.

To qualify for alimony in a Texas divorce, you must not have sufficient assets to provide for your basic needs on your own. Additionally, at least one of the following statements are true:

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This blog has recently discussed the benefits of mediation and also debunking myths about mediation. It is also helpful to understand the value of divorce mediation in the context of the goals of mediation.

The goals for divorce mediation

The goals of divorce mediation include:

  • The creation of an equitably, legally sound and mutually acceptable divorce settlement agreement;
  • Avoiding the expense and trauma oftentimes associated with litigation; and
  • Minimizing hostility and post-divorce controversies

By achieving the goals for divorce mediation, the divorcing couple may not only reach a divorce settlement agreement that is favorable but may also enjoy the benefit of creating a framework and process for resolving future disputes that may come up. The mediation process uniquely positions the divorcing couple to achieve their divorce-related goals because of the unique nature of the process and its differences from divorce litigation.

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