Kevin Qualls Family Law
Maintaining Professionalism. Preserving Civility. Finding Answers. Practical Guidance On Important Divorce And Custody Matters

What is a "QDRO" in a divorce?

Previous posts on this blog have talked about how retirement plans get divided in the event of a divorce or separation. Indeed, retirement plans are a very important part of the overall property division process, as a couple's assets are often heavily tied up in their retirement plans. Like other assets, the general rule is that retirement plans get divided in a divorce.

Getting one's retirement plan divided up, however, is only one step in the process of actually getting their share of the money. This is because a California court's order is only binding on the couple. A separate court order, directed to either party's retirement plan, is required before one can get the funds to which they are entitled.

A qualified domestic relations order, or "QDRO," is the separate court order that a party will need to make sure gets sent to the other party's retirement plan administrator. As a word of caution, however, an administrator typically has some leeway to refuse to accept a court order if it does not meet the retirement plan's criteria. This is because there are important tax and other implications to a plan giving money to someone whose name is not on the retirement account.

In other words, the drafting of a QDRO is an important step in the divorce or permanent separation process that can be the difference between an Orange County resident getting money to which they are entitled right away or having to experience frustrating delays. An experienced family law attorney can assist with the proper drafting of a QDRO.

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Kevin Qualls Family Law
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