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What is a QDRO?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2018 | High-asset Divorce

For many in the Omaha area, their retirement plan is one of their most important financial assets. With some consistency, it can become a source of great wealth. Moreover, there is an emotional component to a retirement plan as well, as many feel they worked very hard for that money and do not want to part with it.

Like most other property, however, a retirement plan, or at least part of it, will likely be considered part of the marital estate should a couple get divorced or undergo a permanent legal separation. As such, it will be subject to property division, and this division can get contentious in a high-asset divorce or even when the couple is of more modest means.

Even if a couple does come to an agreement about a retirement plan, there are still some legal complexities involved in actually divvying this property up. This is because there are tax advantages associated with retirement plans and, as such, some special requirements that have to be followed. Moreover, a retirement plan is administered by a third party that is not automatically subject to the orders of the family law court.

Therefore, to properly divide a retirement plan, one of the parties will need to prepare a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO, and have it signed by the judge. Additionally, the QDRO has to be accepted by the third party administrator of the retirement plan, and it must satisfy IRS requirements.

As one can see, the lawyer preparing the QDRO must do so with utmost care and attention to detail. If they do not, it can lead to delays or, in the worst-case scenario, financial and legal problems down the road. The need for a QDRO is just one of many reasons why someone with a lot of assets may wish to secure experienced legal representation to help with their family law issues.