QDRO's are utilized for a variety of reasons but generally limited to three (3) main areas: dividing retirement plans as marital property, for purposes of paying alimony, and paying child support or child support arrearages. A single QDRO is usually required for each retirement plan, or a portion of the plan, to be divided (awarded) to a spouse. A QDRO is a separate court order, separate from the divorce judgment or settlement agreement, required (per the IRS) to transfer a portion of the retirement benefits/accounts to a non-participant spouse. If we are not employed to draft your QDRO, be certain to investigate the experience, time required, and the fees charged by those offering such services.
The process can most often be very smooth and accomplished within 30 to 45 days. However, in difficult situations it could take longer. You can be assured that we maintain an ongoing communication process with all parties up to and through the final draft. If possible, we will ascertain as to whether or not the plan assets can be divided into two separate accounts or monthly benefits. We continue to negotiate and/or communicate with the Plan Administrator until we have an acceptable QDRO for all of those concerned.
Once the language of the DRO has been agreed upon, we will prepare the final draft and present it to you, the Attorney, for implementation. The attorney is responsible for obtaining the Court's signature and submitting the signed and sealed order to the Plan Administrator. Instructions will accompany each QDRO we provide. The Plan Administrator will then facilitate the Order and send notices to all participants and alternate payees as to the awarded benefits along with instructions, options and tax consequences, etc.
In short, we facilitate the complete negotiation process, the preliminary draft, and the final draft on your behalf. All communication, correspondence and consultation between our firm, the Plan(s) and counsel for the parties are included in our fee. We are in the best possible position to complete the task at hand with the least amount of delay and confusion over misunderstood issues and plan options applicable to your client's interest.
Please note that some plans such as, State Retirement Systems, City, County, U.S. Postal Service, Military and other Government Plans are not governed under ERISA and are also exempt from the Internal Revenue Code in regard to QDROs. We have numerous solutions and suggestions regarding these plans. Please contact our firm for more information.
1. Copy of Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, or Judgment of Divorce is required:
Date of Marriage
Date of Divorce(separation, filing, or specifically the date of division)
Name of Judge, County, and Case Number
Complete Address of Both Parties
Social Security # of Both Parties
Dates of Birth for Both Parties
Which Party is The Petitioner/Plaintiff & Which is Respondent/Defendant
2. Copy of the Plan Document or Summary Plan Description
3. Copy of Marital Settlement Agreement
4. Pre-payment for commencement of service (required)