QDROs - Qualified Domestic Relations Orders
Divorces commonly involve the division of retirement accounts. Most retirement
plans permit the division of accounts held under the plans pursuant to
divorce. (Some state-run plans however, do not.)
Division of retirement plans are governed first by federal and/or state
laws, and secondly by the retirement plan administrator’s internal
rules and procedures. Because of all the rules and regulations pertaining
to retirement accounts, division of retirement accounts pursuant to divorce
must be handled with care and attention.
Most retirement plans are divided by court order (typically but not always
a QDRO). That order is drafted by an attorney representing one of the
parties and then submitted to the judge presiding over the case for his
signature. A certified copy of that order is then forwarded to the plan
administrator for approval. The plan administrator will determine whether
that order complies with the law and the plan’s rules.
Depending on the disposition of the divorce case (for example, whether
the case was settled between the parties or determined by a judge after
a trial) and how the final documents were drafted (settlement agreement
and/or divorce decree), there might only be one attempt to get it right.
Because of the technical aspects, most divorce attorneys prefer not to
draft QDROs and frequently will refer you to seek other counsel to complete
that process (usually after the divorce is final). If you need to divide
a retirement account, contact an
experienced divorce lawyer at Martin & Wallentine, LLC. We will provide your legal matter the
care and attention it deserves.