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Help a Member Who is Divorcing?

In the event of a divorce, TMRS encourages the member to contact us as soon as possible in the process.

It is important to help employees understand that Texas is a community property state (see 1). This means the right of the former spouse to the funds must be taken into account.

When an employee is divorcing, if is important for the correspondent to give him/her some important information. We strongly recommend you have the employee call TMRS immediately. In addition, advise the member to do the following:

  • Review the Divorce and Retirement publication posted on the TMRS Website.
  • If the employee retains the entire benefit, a QDRO (see 2) is not necessary but there must be specific language awarding the benefits to the member in the divorce decree.
  • Send a certified copy (see 3) of the QDRO to TMRS if the retirement benefit is to be divided. TMRS requires a certified copy of a Qualified Order before any benefit can be paid or deposits withdrawn.
  • Contact the TMRS Support Services group for specialized assistance to handle divorce issues. Support Services may be contacted at:

In the event of a divorce, TMRS encourages the member to contact us as soon as possible in the process.

1
In a community property state, all property acquired during a marriage is owned 50-50 by the two spouses, including retirement funds. Most property acquired during the marriage (except for gifts or inheritances) is owned jointly by both spouses and is divided upon divorce, annulment, or death. The law is justified by the idea that such joint ownership recognizes the theoretically equal contributions of both spouses to the creation and operation of the family unit.
2
A QDRO is usually a separate document from the divorce decree but in some cases may be contained within the decree.
3
What is a Certified Copy?
A certified copy is an official document certified by the District Clerk. It is a copy of the decree or QDRO with the original stamp and seal plus the signature of the District Clerk of the county where the divorce was granted.

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