The division of assets is a large part of the divorce process. For some parties, a retirement plan is an important aspect of that process.
To make the process work best for you, it is important that you understand how a QDRO works. There are a few key facts to understand.
In short, a qualified domestic relations order requires a party to pay part of a retirement fund to another party. In relation to a divorce, the disbursement is usually granted to the ex-spouse, the party's children or another dependent party. The order details the recipient, along with the amount he or she shall receive.
For a QDRO to be valid, it must meet specific requirements:
- Must be a covered benefit or amount
- Provides the full names and addresses of recipients
- Clearly denotes the award amount
Depending upon the situation, additional stipulations may apply. Therefore, it is quite beneficial to work with a knowledgeable attorney to ensure proper QDRO preparation. Otherwise, the court may not honor it.
While it is possible to divide the QDRO during the divorce proceedings, many parties enter it as a separate filing. In fact, it is possible to initiate a QDRO years after the divorce is complete. Whatever timeframe you decide to pursue, it is important that you know and can clearly articulate your desired outcome through the process. As you work with your attorney, it can make the process easier and more efficient.
While the division of assets can be complex, understanding these key aspects of QDROs can provide the necessary insight to aid you in choosing the best option. It may also be beneficial to become familiar with the divorce laws of the state.