My husband works for the city of San Antonio Fire Department. How do we value and divide his pension?

He has been in the department for 18 years.
He will likely retire in 12 years, at which point
he receives a generous pension. I have heard
of some men not retiring in order to avoid
dividing pension from a divorce. Is it possible to
request a payout up front? We live in Texas.

Asked on January 7, 2018 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is not a set formula for dividing the pension.  Everything depends on the value of the community estate at the time of the divorce.  If his pension is valued at $10k and the court awards you another asset worth $10k (just for the sake of easy math), then the court might not award you any interest in the pension.  If the pension is the only asset, then they court will most likely award each spouse a fifty percent interest in the portion which accrued during the marriage.
If you and your husband are already divorced and he was awarded his pension, then you cannot later seek a portion of the pension.  If you are already divorced and the pension was divided, then it will be distributed in accordance with the divorce decree.
With regard to the request for payout....that will depend on the adminstrator.  If this was a 401k, then most likely, you could request a payout up front.  However, with it being a pension, most adminstrators will not permit early distributions until the employee retires.  In this case, you would have to wait until he retires to receive a benefit.  To know which set of rules apply to your husband's pension, you will need to call and talk to the administrator.


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