Retirement Benefits

Retirement Benefits

Other than closely held business interests, perhaps the most complicated of marital assets are retirement plans and other employer provided benefits such as stock options, restricted stock, performance shares, and other types of deferred compensation. These are also generally the most valuable assets owned by the parties.

Property settlements are a lot about decision making and, more importantly, financial planning. Divorce is perhaps the most important financial decision most people in America will make in their lives. It’s the one day they buy and sell everything they own. A fundamental knowledge about property in general, and especially retirement and other employer provided benefits, and sound financial planning strategies go a long way towards insuring a client’s economic survival.

You may be familiar with the term Qualified Domestic Relations Order or “QDRO”. A QDRO, or similar order, is the court order that assigns a benefit for direct payment from the plan, to an alternate payee, that has been previously awarded in a Final Decree of Divorce. There are different requirements for different types of plans, whether federal, state, and local governments, or private pension plans. The requirements for non-qualified plans can be even more complicated.

However, the QDRO process is the final step in dividing retirement or other employer provided benefits. The first step is a fundamental understanding of how each plan works, whether the plan benefits are assignable, and do the plan’s benefits have value in the client’s hands post-date of divorce.

How do plan loans affect the value of a defined contribution plan? What should be considered when addressing survivor benefits? When do the benefits begin to the non-employee spouse and it what form? What is a deferred retirement option plan or “DROP” and how does it work? What constitutes separate and community property?

These and many other questions should be considered when dividing retirement plans and other employer provided benefits. A lack of understanding can lead to disastrous results. The Gregg Law Firm will not let that happen to you.

We have extensive experience in the various retirement plans and other employer provided benefits, such as:

  • Private pension plans (“ERISA” and Non-qualified);
  • The Houston Police Officers’ Pension System (“HPOPS”);
  • The Houston Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund (“HFRRF”);
  • Houston Municipal Employees Pension System (“HMEPS”);
  • Teacher Retirement System of Texas (“TRS”);
  • The Employer Retirement System of Texas (“ERS”);
  • The Texas County and District Retirement System (“TCDRS”);
  • The Texas Municipal Retirement System (“TMRS”);
  • The Civil Service Retirement System (“CSRS”);
  • The Federal Employees Retirement System (“FERS”);
  • The Uniformed Services Retirement System (“Military”)

Sometimes it gets a little rocky out there. Sometimes it will be a little frustrating and you will need your hand held and be reassured. The Gregg Law Firm will be there with you for everything. Throughout your case, we will work together to find solutions to the problems that are presented. But you can always count on this: You will get through this ordeal and come out on the other side in the best possible position to move into the future.