Financial Advice On Divorce: Dividing Retirement Plan Benefits

Houston Divorce LawyerQuestion:

I’m looking for financial advice on divorce on how to divide the benefits of my wife’s retirement plan.

My wife receives larges bonuses at the end of the year. She says that if she has to roll half of her retirement over into a retirement account for me, upon divorce, her bonuses will be reduced drastically because they are based on the amount of stocks she owns in the company.

So can we leave all the money in her account with some contract that states I will receive half upon her retirement?


This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Texas and am thus unable to provide specific financial advice on divorce.

Where I practice, many retirement plans are “qualified” plans under ERISA (Employment Retirement Income Security Act).

ERISA and the IRS have criteria in which a retirement plan may be divided. Whether the retirement plan is a qualified plan under ERISA or a non qualified plan the best way to divide a retirement account is through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). The purpose of a QDRO is to divide the benefits of the retirement plan on the date of divorce.

Financial Advice On Divorce:

How To Handle Retirement Plans

In your case, your portion of your wife’s plan will be determined on the date of divorce. Once she retires, you will then receive your portion of her benefits.

Your wife does not need to divide and roll over your portion of the plan before retirement thereby protecting her bonuses due to the stocks she owns.

You will need to determine what type of plan she has and make sure the QDRO follows the terms set out by the plans administrator.

Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion and financial advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a divorce lawyer.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Houston Divorce Lawyer Robin W. Klein, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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