A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) can help you secure the share of your spouse’s retirement benefits you are entitled to when you divorce. You can take one out at the time of the divorce or can do it later.
Does that mean you should mark it as something to deal with later on your divorce to-do list? No. Putting it in place now is always preferable. Here are some of the reasons why.
A QDRO allows you to control your money how you wish
When the money is sitting in your ex-spouse’s retirement fund, you have no control over how that money is invested or managed. Moving it to a fund of your choice allows you to choose. You can base your decision on performance. Or you could base it on values. For instance, you may move it to a plan that will not invest in fossil fuels.
A QDRO means you have the funds in your hands
Many things could happen that reduce the value of your money or limit your ability to get hold of it. For instance, your spouse could withdraw from their plan. They could use it to secure a loan. They could move out of state, making tracking them down to get your share more challenging. Or they could die, which will again complicate access.
The administrator of your spouse or ex-spouse’s retirement plan has a duty toward them, not you. They will not release a cent to you until a court orders them to via a QDRO. Ticking the task off your divorce to-do list now helps you move forward and close the chapter of your life for good.