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QDRO Process

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QDRO Process

The qualified domestic order, QDRO, process is complex. People work hard for their retirement accounts. Splitting assets built over the years and decades creates a bitter atmosphere. Moon, Schwartz, & Madden works hard to secure the livelihoods of all parties with compassion and determination.

How does I obtain a QDRO?

The QDRO order is part of the divorce proceedings. Attorneys request that retirement proceedings become part of a divorce when it is determined that a party’s livelihood is impacted.

Once a party requests that a retirement account be considered in separation, a judge decides whether to issue an appropriate order. Different rules apply to different accounts. Each requires careful examination to avoid further complications, infighting, and bitterness.

Designated Alternate Payee

The court appoints a party as the receiver of a percentage of the retirement account. The party appointed by the court is the alternate payee.

This person is identified in the order by name and mailing address. It is important to use your legal name in the document.

Which retirement accounts does a QDRO apply to?

The QDRO applies to a 403(b) or 401k. These accounts are shared property. As such, the spouse already has a stake in these assets.

This order applies to assets which both parties in a divorce are beneficiaries. There is already an expectation that these funds will be available in the future.

Complications with Retirement Accounts in a Divorce

There are times when a court may not consider retirement accounts as part of a proceeding. The owner of the account has an interest in keeping as much of these assets as possible for a potential future spouse.

Reasons that a request may be denied include:

  • Length of time the marriage lasted
  • Existing claims to the account
  • Nuptials

Since a lawyer’s time is expensive, we draft these orders when they have a chance of succeeding. You deserve access to your funds but also deserve transparency in all proceedings.

What happens once a QDRO is issued?

The alternate payee has access to the account when they retire, while the contributing party is alive. It is also possible for the order to apply to survivor benefits.

The wording of the order and the affected account determine your or your ex-spouse’s right to access. It is highly likely that you gain survivor rights when the account includes a survivor provision. The QDRO helps solidify this right.

Strictly Wording Legal Issues

Legal matters need to be clearly defined. Lawsuits are fought and won or lost on ambiguity.

Our lawyers comb over every document to ensure that the resulting order works in our client’s favor. We want you to have access to the funds you need and expect.

Lawyers to Support Me in the QDRO Process

The QDRO process should not be complex. Hiring the right lawyer ensures access to your retirement accounts into the future. A simple ambiguity can unravel the entire process.

Get in touch with Moon, Schwartz, & Madden for help drafting orders. We fight for every client.

QDRO Process