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Retirement Account Attorney

El Paso Retirement Account and QDRO Divorce Attorney

Helping Manage and Divide Your Retirement in a Divorce

Retirement accounts create unique challenges in a divorce. They often result in one of these two situations.

First, you are in the process of getting divorced. Your divorce attorney may need help assessing the relative value of the retirement accounts and drafting the proper orders. These orders can divide retirement, and they also get the money to you directly.

In the second situation, you have been divorced for some time, maybe even decades. For whatever reason, your retirement account has not been divided. Nothing has gone to the fund manager, and no money has gone to you. In this case, your retirement order is either lacking in some way, or it was never prepared or filed at the time of divorce.

The Law Offices of Leonard Morales P.C. offers representation and assistance with retirement accounts and drafting retirement orders or Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO) in a divorce. We have experience dealing with both these situations. In fact, other family lawyers and law firms often seek our assistance in drafting retirement orders. They also ask us for general advice about a type of retirement and the benefits available for the division.

If you are working with another divorce attorney, ask if they can draft retirement orders as part of your divorce. Often, lawyers do not offer this service. If this situation applies to you, you can ask your lawyer to contact us. You can also reach out to us directly for assistance.

To meet with our El Paso team to handle the retirement division in your divorce, call our office today at (915) 546-2696.

Plenary Power in a Divorce

Do not allow your divorce to be finalized before the retirement awards are drafted, signed, and approved by the court.

Plenary power is the continuing legal authority to sign any other documents or proposed orders after the divorce is finalized. Courts have this power for only a short time. In Texas, the time limit is days. After that, you must file a new petition to reopen the divorce and deal with retirement awards. Doing so means additional court costs, service of process on your ex-spouse, and returning to court to finalize these orders. Despite what you might find in an internet search, there is no way around this process.

Our team has represented hundreds of individuals pursuing retirement benefits in divorce decrees. When you contact us promptly, we can help you file the correct documents within the plenary power deadline.

If it is, unfortunately, too late, we can still step in and help make sure retirement is fairly divided in your divorce. We can reopen the divorce to submit proper retirement orders or correct deficiencies in prior retirement orders. Our team works to make these rulings acceptable to the “fund manager.”

Common Questions About Retirement and Divorce

What Is a QDRO?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a legal order typically issued during divorce proceedings. It divides retirement or pension benefits between divorcing spouses. The order establishes the right of an alternate payee (such as a former spouse) to receive a portion of the benefits accrued in a retirement plan or pension fund. QDROs are commonly used to ensure that retirement assets are divided fairly and in compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulations.

What or Who Is a Fund Manager?

The fund manager is simply the company or agency responsible for managing a retirement account. For example, a fund manager could be a company such as Defense Finance and Accounting Service or DFAS, Fidelity Accounts, Vanguard, Charles Schwab, and so on.

A fund manager has no role in your divorce or in what is divisible. The fund manager is only a third-party payor responsible for transferring funds to the participants and alternative payees. Retirement awards must be in the proper format, language, and division type, authorized under the terms of the retirement plan.

What Is a Retirement Plan?

A retirement plan is a financial arrangement designed to provide individuals with an income stream during their retirement years. These plans are typically sponsored by employers, government entities, or individuals, and they aim to help individuals save and invest for retirement.

All retirement plans have contracts, terms, and regulations. They provide the company with instructions, outline the permissions the participant gives them with their money, and regulate the management of the retirement account.

Some plans, such as defined benefit plans, 401(k)s, and profit-sharing plans, provide for particular kinds of divisions. Depending on the type of plan, it might limit how one receives the benefits provided by the retirement plan. The terms of the plan may also govern how the account can be divided and what fund managers require to accomplish the division.

How Long Does It Take to Finalize Retirement in a Divorce?

In any legal matter, the time to finalize is determined on a case-by-case basis. Retirement awards are no different. The main issue is getting the necessary information to draft a proper order.

Once our team has the required information, the drafting process takes only a few days. The longest part is presenting the draft order to the court. This timeline extends when the ex-spouse or participant delays or refuses to provide information about the retirement account.

Delays may occur in correctly identifying the fund and getting information from the fund manager about its particular requirements. Sometimes the fund managers require pre-approval of the draft order before it’s presented to the court.

Other Types of Retirement Awards We Handle

We can prepare retirement for numerous retirement companies and organizations.

For example, we have drafted awards in:

  • Teamsters
  • Military retirement
  • Teacher retirement
  • Railroad retirement
  • Thrift savings plans (TSPs)
  • Police and firefighter funds
  • City and county retirement
  • Federal employee retirement system (FERS)

Even if you divorced long ago, you could have thousands of dollars unclaimed. Do not leave this money to chance. Allow our team to analyze your benefits. We may be able to find ways to divide your funds more equitably.

Contact our team online to schedule a consultation about retirement benefits in your divorce. Our El Paso attorney is standing by.

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