The 86th Legislature made changes to the spousal support and maintenance provisions in the Texas Family Code. They are as follows:
- a court may allow payments to come out of various types of pension, retirement plans, or employee benefits that require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
- Courts can do this in the original Decree after September 1, 2021.
- Courts with jurisdiction can do this by “modification” even if the Decree was dated prior to September 1, 2021.
- Maintenance payments may now be made through the State Disbursement Unit for independent record keeping.
- a court may make adjustments to the amount or frequency of payments to comply with pension, retirement plans, or employee benefits that have a formula built into the plan for payouts.
- other technical provisions provide due process and make the changes fit existing law.
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is required for pension, retirement plans, or employee benefits covered by federal laws. A Plan Administrator is required to approve the QDRO before money may be paid out to the spouse receiving the “maintenance.”
The bottom line is this: if your divorce includes division of some type of retirement account, make sure your attorney is conforming to the new legislative rules from 2021. If you have questions about how your pension will be divided in the face of the new rules, don’t hesitate to text Leslie seven days a week at 361-648-6888.