A divorce could be one of the more painful events a couple may endure in their lives. Apart from the emotional toll, a number of financial hurdles need to be overcome throughout the course of a divorce proceeding. Child support, custody and alimony are just some of the issues that can arise as a result of a divorce. However, from a financial standpoint, property division may be a most serious matter which might require awareness of the various legal nuances of the Texas legal system.
Retirement assets could be considered as an important point of contention during the course of a divorce proceeding. As such, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order may be required to solve disputes and facilitate property division, namely the smooth and appropriate apportionment of retirement assets. A QDRO can be defined as a legal order which allows the modification of the ownership of retirement assets, thereby enabling a divorced spouse to acquire his or her share of the asset.
In order for a QDRO of state employee retirement benefits to take effect, it needs to be reviewed along with a copy of the divorce decree and approved by the General Counsel of the Employee Retirement System or ERS. An alternate payee can be allowed to receive the benefits only if it is determined to be a valid ERS QDRO.
The only circumstances under which a court can order ERS benefits to be redirected are cases which involve changes in the family relationship. To put it simply, the legal system can only allow retirement benefits to be paid to an individual who is not an ERS member in the event of a divorce or for the purposes of child support.
Source: Employees Retirement System of Texas, “What is a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO)?,” accessed on Dec. 23, 2014