Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)

What is a QDRO?

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) are a necessary legal mechanism for dividing retirement plan assets in divorce.  State and Federal plans may use the term Domestic Relations Order (DRO), but the goal is the same. While QDROs are not required to divide Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), they are needed to divide and distribute assets in 401(k), 403(b), pension plans, and other retirement plans. Divorce On Your Terms drafts QDROs that communicate your settlement agreement to your marital retirement plans.

When a QDRO order has been court-certified and accepted by a retirement plan, a separate account may be created for the spouse that is receiving the asset, also known as the Alternate Payee.  In other cases, the Spouse, or Alternate Payee, effectively shares in the benefits provided to the Participant. QDROs are just that simple: the document we draft takes an account balance or benefit and provides for the transfer of all, or a portion of it, from the party who is a Participant in the plan (a current or former employee) to their spouse, the Alternate Payee.

We Are Meticulous

Founded by a Financial Professional with extensive experience with Qualified Plans, Divorce On Your Term’s QDRO team applies the terms of the divorce agreement you’ve reached using each plan’s unique language. Most large company plans utilize one of the national administrators, with online forms and proprietary language, terms and requirements.  Some plans require more interaction with the plan administrator and truly custom language. Regardless of the complexity or uniqueness, your QDRO order will be touched by three team members to ensure accuracy and proper formatting for timely processing.

A Better, Multi-step Process

QDROs have traditionally been difficult for clients and their attorneys to follow.  Typically, a firm is hired to draft a QDRO, and the clients and their attorneys wait… and wait… and wait for processing, with no feedback or communication as to how things are progressing.  We have a multi-step notification program to ensure our clients are aware of the process and our progress.

Clients will receive notifications:

  1. When we have received payment and are beginning the order.
  2. When we send the order for pre-approval from the plan.
  3. When we receive the pre-approval back from the plan and we forward it to counsel, who will forward it to the court.
  4. When the final court-certified order is forwarded to the plan for execution.
  5. For bi-weekly follow-ups with the plan administrator.
  6. When the new account has been created (at which time we help clients obtain information about the plan and options available to them).

More Accountability To Clients

Our QDRO clients may call our offices any time to check on our progress or to obtain information about financial options relating to the outcome of the process.  They will get to know our staff by name. The final step in our multi-step process will even help clients understand the provisions and options in the plan, and we may offer alternatives, including options for professional financial advice, which may be provided by our partner firms or affiliates.

More Value

We know cost matters in divorce.  We know clients deserve more and better information about how it all works and what it means to them. We deliver.

Defined Contribution QDRO (401(k), 403(b), 457 and other plans)

These plans are typically known as salary-reduction plans.  401(k) corporate plans and 403(b) non-profit, hospital and education plans are the most common defined contribution plans.


Defined Benefit QDRO (Pension, Cash Balance Plan)

Defined Benefit plans are often known as pension plans because their primary goal is to pay a monthly benefit in retirement.