What is a QDRO?
The term QDRO is an acronym that stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order. Unless you have gone through a divorce and had a qualified retirement plan, it’s likely that you’ve never heard of this term. Simply put, a QDRO is an order issued in a divorce proceeding for a retirement plan to pay a spouse or former spouse his or her community property share in a retirement plan. A QDRO can also order the plan to pay child support and/or alimony to a spouse or former spouse of the plan participant.
QDROs are relatively simple documents, but they can be tricky to prepare. That’s because each plan requires special language to divide the pension or retirement account. For this reason, many family law attorneys refuse to prepare QDROs and often refer the task to other attorneys who are more familiar with the nuances of pension plans and better suited to this process.
Fortunately, my team at the Law Office of Rebecca Medina can help simplify the sometimes confusing world of QDROs. We have years of experience dealing with complex financial matters and translating them into terms you can understand.
Do All Pensions and Retirement Funds Require QDROs?
No. Some kinds of benefits–such as IRA accounts–can be simply divided with proper language in a divorce decree.
Why Do I Need a QDRO?
Without a QDRO, the plan may not be aware of a divorce or a former spouse’s right to any of the plan benefits. The plan might pay all benefits to the individual actually participating in the plan, not the former spouse, even if there is already a marital settlement agreement (called an MSA) or judgment of dissolution. That’s because they generally do not meet the requirements of a QDRO. If the individual participating in the plan dies without a QDRO after the divorce, it is possible that the former spouse will receive no money from the plan. Therefore, the QDRO can prevent later lawsuits as well as provide financial protection.
Wondering about how to handle QDROs? Our office is available to help. Let’s discuss your case. To schedule a consultation with the Law Office of Rebecca Medina today, call 559-324-5427 in Fresno or 858-285-4315 in San Diego, or contact us online.