Retirement benefits are often subject to property division in a Texas divorce. In some cases, calculating the community interest is straight forward; however, in other cases, it can be somewhat more complex. In a recent case, a former wife challenged a trial court’s handling of the former husband’s retirement benefits after it concluded she had already received all of the benefits to which she was entitled.
The parties had been married 22 years when they divorced. The wife was awarded 50% of the husband’s Civil Service Retirement Benefits accrued as of the date of the decree’s entry. The trial court signed a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”) authorizing payment of an interest in the husband’s monthly annuity payments to the wife and stating that she was entitled to a survivor annuity.
Trial Court Enters Original QDRO
The parties began receiving the monthly annuity payments pursuant to the QDRO after the husband retired at the end of 2011. In March 2016, the husband moved to vacate the QDRO, arguing the wife was not entitled to a survivor’s benefit under the decree but a premium was being deducted from his monthly benefit. He asked the court to amend the QDRO to match the property division in the divorce decree.