by Patricia Glover, Advanced Certified Paralegal, Notary Signing Agent, Certified Legal Document Preparer, Glover Court Solutions
Often, one spouse is able to set aside a significantly larger retirement savings than the other spouse (e.g., if one spouse stayed home to raise children while the other pursued a career). In such cases, a common tool used in divorce cases is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, also known as a QDRO, which allows the court to divide or reassign retirement benefits (such as pensions, 401(k) accounts, etc.) without incurring penalties for early withdrawals.
A QDRO must contain specific information such as the participant’s and alternate payee’s names, mailing address, and the amount or percentage of the participant’s benefits to be paid to each alternate payee.
It’s important to work with a legal professional experienced in handling QDRO issues, who can help you navigate through the process of communicating with plan administrators, preparing the case pleadings, and ensuring your QDRO meets state and federal guidelines.