A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is a document that you can use to divide retirement plans, pension plans and other financial assets if you’re getting divorced. These documents are used to distribute future payments to an ex-spouse.
For example, perhaps your spouse was given a pension when they took their current job. You’re getting divorced, but you were hoping to use that pension to retire. You may still be entitled to a percentage of your ex’s pension, and the QDRO can set things up so that you get the monthly payment after your ex retires. This can help to preserve your retirement plans, even if your marriage ends.
The amount is different in every case
This does not necessarily mean that you are going to get half of the pension. The total amount is going to be unique in every situation, and the alternate payee – you, if this is your spouse’s pension plan – can get any percentage that the court chooses. This could even include 100% of the pension, although cases like that are rare.
Generally speaking, the court is just going to look at what percentage of that pension your spouse earned during the marriage. If you were married the entire time that your spouse worked there, you may get 50%. But if your spouse earned some of that pension before or after your marriage, your percentage could be smaller.
But the fact remains that documents like this can help you secure your financial future. You need to make sure you know how to use them and what you deserve.