QDRO: Four Steps to Completing the Process
As part of the property division in your divorce, you may have agreed to divide one or more of your retirement accounts. This means that you will likely have to pay for the drafting and filing of a QDRO, or a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This is done in four steps:
- Drafting – if you don’t have a lawyer, you will need to arrange for this document to be drafted. If you do have a lawyer, your lawyer will likely have an expert take care of the drafting of the QDRO. You may be required to gather basic information about your plan, but whomever is drafting will take it from there.
- Submitting the Draft to the Plan Administrator – once the QDRO is drafted it will go to the Plan Administrator at the financial institution associated with your retirement account. The Plan Administrator will require the QDRO to contain very specific language. If necessary, the Plan Administrator may ask you to revise the Draft. Once the administrator has a QDRO that contains the proper language, they will approve it and send it back to you.
- Time for Signatures – once you or your lawyer receives the approved draft QDRO, you and your ex-spouse will sign same, and it will be submitted to the Judge. From there, the Judge will also sign, and serve all parties with a copy of the fully-executed document.
- Back to the Plan Administrator – finally, after you or your lawyer receives the fully-executed QDRO from the Judge, it must go back to the Plan Administrator to officially divide the account.
If you don’t have a lawyer, you may want to talk to one about this process. If you do have a lawyer, this will be a relatively painless process for you. Your lawyer will notify you when certain documents come in, and when your signature is required. At the end of the process, you will receive an official copy of the QDRO, and your account should then be divided pursuant to Court Order. Contact me for a free consultation to discuss your QDRO needs.
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