Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (“QDRO’s”) are used to divide pension, 401(k), and certain other retirement plans upon divorce. While some retirement plans like IRAs do not require a QDRO to be transferred and distributed upon divorce, many other plans cannot be divided between divorcing spouses without a QDRO.
Preparation of a QDRO is a highly detailed and technical process which should not be undertaken without the assistance of an experienced attorney. In fact, many highly capable divorce attorneys retain outside counsel to draft QDRO’s rather than doing it themselves. Incredibly specific steps must be taken not only in drafting the QDRO, but also in presenting it to the Court in the context of the underlying divorce action to achieve the division of the retirement assets at issue. QDRO’s create certain tax implications which also must be addressed, and the terms of the specific plan(s) at issue in the QDRO will be relevant to the schedule at which the “alternate payee” spouse (i.e. the spouse who is not the primary holder of the plan) will receive benefits under the plan.
Even if a court has decided how a plan which requires a QDRO is to be divided, the failure to promptly prepare and submit the QDRO could jeopardize the ability of the alternate payee spouse to receive his or her share of the plan assets. Therefore, it is imperative that competent, experience counsel be engaged to draft the QDRO and push it through the appropriate channels expeditiously.
If you have retirement assets which might require a QDRO to divide and need a QDRO drafted, or if you have questions about QDRO’s or the steps required to complete the transfer of plan(s) subject to a QDRO, contact Kimberly Coleman Law today for a consultation.