You and your spouse have decided to call it quits.  After months of negotiating your divorce is “final,” and in your hands is an official court order awarding you one half of your ex-spouse’s retirement / pension account.  Wonderful!  But just exactly how are you supposed to get your money? 

QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order)

The answer is….by using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, otherwise known as a QDRO (pronounced qua-drow).  The QDRO is a separate order signed by the judge and entered in your divorce file, sometimes months after the divorce is actually granted.  Your attorney will draft the QDRO only after obtaining information directly from the administrator of the retirement / pension plan regarding any special rules that plan has.  Your attorney will then send a draft of the QDRO to the retirement / pension plan for pre-approval.  Once that pre-approval is received, your attorney will forward the QDRO to the judge for signature.  After receiving the judge signed QDRO, your attorney will send it to the retirement / pension plan which will review the document again to make certain it satisfies all of their rules.  The retirement / pension plan may charge you a fee for completing its review.

Only after all of these steps have been completed will you get your money.  As you can imagine, this process can take months to accomplish, and often times does.

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1 Response » to “Dividing Retirement Accounts – What is a QDRO Anyway?!”

  1. Darlene says:

    Very helpful, sadly to say I did not do that from the begining and now at 69 years of age find myself with out my alimony. My x agreed to pay me
    $700 a month if I signed off on his pension and I trusted him as we did our own divorce in Ia where I was living at the time because it was less expensive for me to live there. Now I have to move because I cannot pay rent and with all that is involved trying to get a quadro done I do not know that I can afford it. The person I spoke with at the pension fund told me they would need a qualified domestics relationship order, which I see now is the quadro. Needless to say I am worried. Your article was very helpful. Thank you, Darlene

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