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Is My Bonus Community Property?

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Around the holidays, end-of-the-year bonuses and holiday bonuses have been calculated and given by employers to hopeful and hard-working employees. If you are one of those employees and you are divorced, it can be helpful to know whether or not your bonus is something that can be divided by the Court in Dallas, Texas. Having this information off-hand will aid you in your property settlement and plans for the immediate future.

Understanding the Purpose of a Bonus

The secret to what differentiates whether a bonus will be considered community property (and thus divisible by the Court, or your separate property) or awarded solely to you, lies within the purpose for the bonus. If you are being paid a bonus for work that you performed during the marriage, that bonus is community property and thus divisible by the Court. Even if you receive the bonus a few months into the next calendar year and/or after your divorce has been finalized, it is still community property if the bonus was for work performed during the course of the marriage.

If your bonus is conditioned solely upon work that is set to be completed in the future and that work occurs after your divorce, then your bonus will be considered separate property and thus solely yours.

Employers usually provide documentation as to the benefits they provide to their employees. If your spouse is entitled to receive a bonus, it is important to receive your spouse’s employer’s benefits information during the divorce process so that you can anticipate whether a bonus will be received as well as the purpose for the bonus.

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