Divorce proceedings are very fact specific, meaning they significantly differ depending on the specific facts of your case. While certain issues, such as spousal support and division of property, are common in most divorces, other issues, such division of retirement accounts and benefits, may not be. Regardless, it is important that you hire a Central Valley divorce attorney who has the experience and knowledge to deal with any and all issues that you may encounter during your divorce proceeding.
If you or your spouse have retirement accounts, pensions, IRA’s or other qualifying retirement benefits or employment packages, you may need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (commonly referred to as a QDRO).
QDRO Defined and Explained
A QDRO is a legal court order that directs a retirement plan administrator to divide a party’s plan according to a court order. The court order is generally prepared once the divorce is final and according to the judgment of the court or the agreement of the parties to the divorce proceeding. Most financial companies offer QDRO’s online as part of their client services, which is more cost-effective as well as a timesaver for getting the order signed by the court to divide the assets.
The basic and common information required as part of the court order include:
- Name of the parties
- Case information
- The amount or percentage of the plan, how it will be divided, and when
- Whether or not the employee spouse has reached the age of retirement
Steps to Obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order
Once you have hired a Central Valley QDRO attorney to draft and obtain the QDRO, you need to start the process to have it prepared for submission to the court. Your lawyer will begin the process as soon as he has received the final divorce judgment, retirement plan, and any other necessary information to prepare the court documents.
Once your attorney has received the necessary information, the following will happen:
- QDRO counsel will join the Retirement plan as a party to the Divorce
- Draft a Copy of the QDRO for the parties, family counsel and Plan Administrator to review
- Obtain signatures and approval of the QDRO from the parties and the Plan Administrator
- Submit the QDRO for approval by the Court
- Serve a copy of the Qualified Domestic Relations Order on the Plan to make payment according to the order
Call an Experienced Central Valley Divorce Attorney
If you are involved in a divorce proceeding or planning to file for divorce, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced family law attorney to help you learn your legal rights and options with respect to the division of your assets.