Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO)

A QDRO is used to divide complicated marital assets, including retirement plans and pension plans. Because these types of plans are unique and complex, dividing them takes time. Typically, a QDRO takes several months, if not more, before it will go into full force and effect.   Additionally, if the settlement agreement is vague, or does not adhere to each plan’s unique requirements, the QDRO process can take even longer.  Unfortunately, we are not in control of how long the process takes since we are only one component of the process.   It is a process that includes several steps, most of which we are not in control of.  To assist with the understanding of the steps involved in the process, please note as follows:

  1. There needs to be a valid Final Decree of Divorce,
  2. We need any and all necessary information/documentation from both parties;
  3. A draft QDRO will need to be prepared;
  4. The draft will need to be approved by the opposing party/counsel;
  5. Once everyone agrees with the terms of the draft QDRO then we will need the Plan Administrator’s approval;
  6. There may need to be additional revisions made; after which everyone will need to execute the final QDRO;
  7. It is then filed with the Court for approval;
  8. After which a Certified Copy is provided to the Plan administrator for processing and final distribution.

Please note that throughout this process you will be copied on all correspondence so that you know which step we are at during the process. Although you will be kept informed, we have no control over how long all of the other parties/entities involved will take to do their part. However, rest assured that we have comprehensive follow-up procedures in place to ensure that your matter is given the attention it deserves.

It is important to be aware of the realities of the QDRO process. QDROs are very technical documents, and each one is unique to the plan being divided. As an experienced divorce attorney, I have helped many clients plan their financial affairs during the lengthy QDRO process.