New Mexico is a community property state, which means that all of the property acquired by a couple during their marriage, or earned by either spouse, during the marriage is considered equally owned by both spouses. Accrued or vested retirement account benefits are considered community property, which means that, upon divorce, each spouse is entitled to one-half (1/2) of the retirement benefits earned or accrued during the marriage.
There are two primary types of retirement plans: defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans. A defined benefit plan promises a specific monthly benefit at retirement. In a defined contribution plan you (and possibly your employer) contribute a set amount into the account, which may be invested by the employee, the employer or the company that manages the account. Thus, the value of the account will fluctuate depending upon the success of the investments.