Many Houston residents who hold executive or professional positions receive a number of different valuable employment benefits above and beyond their salaries. If a person who receives these benefits goes through a divorce, their benefits may factor into their case.

Retirement plans may need to be divided in a divorce

One common example of an employment benefit that has consequences in a divorce is a retirement plan. Whether it be a defined contribution plan like a 401(k) or a defined benefit plan like a pension, Texas law will frequently treat all or part of these plans as marital property subject to division.

Dividing up these plans is not always an easy process, particularly when there is a lot of money at stake. The couple will have to agree, or the court will have to decide, how much each spouse is entitled to.

Once they do so, the court will also likely have to sign a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO. Because QDROs have potential tax consequences, it is important that lawyers prepare them correctly.

Other employment benefits may also come into play

In the area’s largest firms and other prosperous businesses, higher-level employees may receive other benefits that could have ramifications in a divorce as well. For example, many executives receive benefits like mandatory bonuses, stock options and even items like the use of a company car for personal use.

These types of benefits may factor into the property division process, and they can also impact child support and alimony as well.

Oftentimes, exactly how these types of benefits will affect a divorce depend on a person’s individual circumstances. As each divorce is unique, executives and professionals can speak with an experienced divorce attorney to learn what employment benefits may be at stake in a divorce, as well as how to fight for their fair share.