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Paredez v. Hussey

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

January 16, 2020

PAMELA K. PAREDEZ, Appellant
v.
DARREN J. HUSSEY, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 311th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2017-25242

          Panel consists of Justices Keyes, Goodman, and Countiss.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Evelyn V. Keyes Justice

         Pamela Paredez appeals the trial court's denial of her motion to sign a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) for a defined contribution plan owned by her former husband, Darren Hussey. In six issues, Paredez contends that the parties' divorce decree entitles her to QDROs awarding her half of the funds in Hussey's defined contribution, stock option, profit-sharing, bonus, and employer-based savings retirement plans from the date of their divorce until the date Hussey retires.

         We affirm.

         Background

         After almost thirteen years of marriage, Hussey and Paredez divorced on March 20, 1995. Although they have now been divorced for almost 25 years, Hussey and Paredez have spent the past several years in litigation over Paredez's claim that the parties' divorce decree entitles her to receive half of each of Hussey's retirement savings plans through the last date of his "past, present, or future employment," including contributions he and his employer made to those plans after the parties' divorce in 1995. This appeal centers around Hussey's defined contribution plan, the Shell Provident Fund.

         In the portion of the parties' divorce decree titled "Division of the Marital Estate," the trial court ordered "that the estate of the parties is divided" to award Paredez:

Fifty (50%) percent of any and all sums, whether matured or unmatured, accrued or unaccrued, vested or otherwise, together with all increases thereof, the proceeds therefrom, and any other rights related to any profit-sharing plan, retirement plan, pension plan, employee stock option plan, employee savings plan, accrued unpaid bonuses, or other benefit program existing by reason of Respondent's past, present, or future employment, including without limitation, the Respondent's Retirement Fund, Provident Fund, and SPIF Fund with Shell Oil Company per Qualified Domestic Relations Orders; however, excluding loans against the SPIF in arriving at the 50% interest in the SPIF Fund.

         In accordance with this provision of the decree, on June 15, 1995, the trial court signed a QDRO awarding Paredez fifty percent of the funds in Hussey's Shell Provident Fund as of March 20, 1995:[1]

5. The Court finds that the total community property interest of [Hussey] and [Paredez] in the Shell Provident Fund (hereinafter the Plan), to be the total sum of all contributions, together with interest and earnings thereon, which were made or accrued by or on behalf of [Hussey] into any and all accounts of the Plan.
6. As a part of a just and right division of the estate of the parties, the Court awards, assigns and grants to [Paredez], fifty percent (50%) of all accounts of [Hussey] that make up the Shell Provident Fund as valued on March 20, 1995, said date being the date of divorce, together with all stocks, splits, dividends and earnings thereon, to date of distribution.

         The QDRO stated that it "shall become an integral part" of the divorce decree. And it provided:

10. Except as specifically awarded to [Paredez] herein, [Paredez] is divested of all right, title, and interest in and to any balance remaining in any account of the Shell Provident Fund covering [Hussey].
11. When full payments to [Paredez] of the respective benefits assigned [Paredez] under this Order have been made, the Shell Provident Fund shall be discharged from its respective obligations to [Paredez].

         The QDRO was not appealed. Nor was the divorce decree of which the QDRO was ...


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