Retirement Accounts and Divorce Duane Bingham August 15, 2016 Divorce “Til death do you part?” “I do.” Well, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. As human rights and civil liberties have expanded, so too has people’s ability to leave a marriage that isn’t healthy, isn’t sane, or maybe just isn’t right for them anymore. It happens. But before it all scatters to the wind, odds are you two planned to spend your entire lives together – have kids, get a house, settle down and ring in your last years in decadent style. Often, being intelligent and forward-thinking adults, couples set up a retirement account through their employers. Under Texas law, however, the truth of what this implies may be considered counter-intuitive to some. For example, you may think, “Well, it’s my job. I’m the one who goes to it. I’m the one who pays into it. Therefore, the benefits are mine.” Don’t get too hasty! Texas law views retirement plans to be indirect compensation to your spouse, which basically counts as income for them. The benefits are thus viewed as community property, and can therefore be divided up amongst the spouses in a way the court deems just and right. Even if you’re not retired when the divorce rolls around, the amount of contributions already made toward the retirement plan are considered when divvying up the community property between a divorcing couple during the proceedings. Talk to your lawyer about ways you can mitigate your losses should such a situation arise.