DIVORCE & DISABILITY
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.
HOW DIVORCE CAN AFFECT YOUR PENSION
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 Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), 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.
PENSION PAYMENTS IN A DIVORCE
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 former spouse or minor child.
The alternate payee may begin receiving his or her benefit at your 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 alternative payee’s benefit will begin at the same time and will be reduced by the same percentage as yours.
DIVORCE IN TEXAS
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.
Your disability is calculated as a percentage of your average monthly earnings on your termination date. Your benefit will be based on ten years of credited person service or your actual credited pension service if it is more than ten years.
There are two types of disability retirement, service and non-service, if you have a service disability, the minimum service-related disability benefit is $1,000.
If you become totally and permanently disabled as the result of a job-related injury, you are eligible to apply for service disability benefits. There is no minimum service requirement.
If your disability is not related to your work, you may apply for non-service disability benefits. The following Fund members are eligible for non-service disability retirement:
- Active members with five or more years of credited pension service
- Inactive members with ten or more years of credited pension service
ERF’s Board of Trustees procedure governing the disability application process are explained in “Rules of Practice and Procedure Regarding Disability Retirement,” a document you can request from the Fund office.