Pension benefits earned by a member while married are community property and may be divided during a divorce. If you get divorced while employed by the City of Dallas, you must provide ERF with a copy of any Divorce Decree(s) and court order(s) issued. The best time to provide the decree(s) and order(s) is at the time of the divorce.
If you were married and divorced while working for the City, ERF will require that you submit a full copy of your Divorce Decree and a certified copy of your Domestic Relations Order (DRO), if applicable.
If you and your spouse do not intend to split your pension, your Divorce Decree should clearly state that the benefit is awarded to you alone. If it does not, your spouse may return to court at some time in the future and claim a portion of your pension.
If you and your spouse have decided to split your pension upon your divorce, please call ERF for a copy of model court orders and for information regarding document requirements and processing.
If your pension payment is to be divided, ERF will split the dollar amount of your monthly pension and adjust the alternate payee's portion based on his or her age. An alternate payee is defined as a former spouse or minor child.
The alternate payee may begin receiving his or her benefit at your earliest retirement eligibility date, whether you begin to draw your pension or not. If you decide to retire prior to age 50 with a reduced benefit, your alternate payee's benefit will begin at the same time and will be reduced by the same percentage as yours.
Once you get married, whether through a formal ceremony or common law, you will continue to be married until you have a Divorce Decree signed by a judge. There is no such thing as common law divorce in Texas. If you agreed to be married under common law, you must go to court to dissolve the marriage.
Many marriages break down, and this is often a slow and painful process for both spouses. While it may be easier to live separately as you decide whether or not to divorce, you need to understand that in the State of Texas you are either married or not married as Texas does not recognize legal separation.