Six recent QDRO questions that we answer include: What Retirement Plans Require a QDRO? What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”)? Why do I need an Annual Benefit Statement for a QDRO? Are Retirement Assets Joint Property? Is a QDRO a complicated document? When both spouses have nearly equal retirement benefits, does that change anything for the QDRO?
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (a QDRO) is the mechanism created under law to transfer money out of a retirement account, either a 401(k) or a pension. A QDRO should be drafted correctly or it will be rejected. The QDRO should be referenced in the settlement agreement or mediated agreement and the agreement should state how the retirement account is to be apportioned using exact figures (either specific dollar amounts or percentages) or a date certain upon which to value the retirement account.
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (a “QDRO”) is utilized to apportion retirement benefits in the state of Georgia. A QDRO must be used to divide a 401(k) and a pension. That is the only way to divide these retirement accounts when you get divorced. Each pension or 401(k) requires its own separate QDRO. A judge from the court that granted the divorce must approve of the QDRO. If a party doesn't cooperate in providing information for the QDRO, that party can be sanctioned by the court.
Specific QDRO requirements are contained in the law known as ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Under the law, a QDRO must contain the following: the name of each plan involved; the full name and last known mailing address of the participant and the alternate payee; the number of payments or time period to which the order applies; and, the precise dollar amount or exact percentage (or the method of determining the amount of percentage) of the benefit to be paid to the alternate payee.
A qualified domestic relations order, also known as a QDRO, is a special court order that grants a person the right to a portion of the retirement benefits of his or her former spouse who earned them through participation in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. QDROs are typically prepared during or immediately after divorce proceedings. In a QDRO, the person who earned the benefit is called the “participant” and the person who is designated to receive a share of that benefit is called the “alternate payee.” QDROs can award benefits to the alternate payee while the participant is alive, as well as survivor benefits should the participant dies.
A QDRO (pronounced as “qua-dro”) is a type of domestic relations order usually issued in divorce cases. During a divorce or legal separation, a QDRO splits a retirement or pension plan by recognizing joint martial ownership interest in the plan. A QDRO is a difficult document to draft and many people make mistakes when drafting them.
Child support in Georgia is based upon the child support guidelines. The guidelines take into account multiple factors, including number of children involved and the incomes of the parties. A 401 (k) is divided in a divorce using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). How a QDRO is split between the parties is often negotiated. Once negotiated, the final agreement would be incorporated in the final divorce documents.
Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), the retirement plan administrator is initially responsible for determining whether a domestic relations order is a QDRO (some are not). The Retirement Plan Administrator is that individual or group in a company that is responsible for the management of the retirement plan. That retirement plan can be either a pension plan, a 401 (k), or something else. So it is up to the specific company involved to determine whether there needs to be a QDRO or not to divide a retirement account.
If you were to file for divorce, since you live in Fulton County, Georgia, you would file in the Superior Court of Fulton County. Divorce actions are brought in a superior court. And the court would be the superior court of the county where the defendant lives. As part of the divorce, we would handle all the related issues like child support, alimony and the division of property. Child support in Georgia is based upon the child support guidelines and can be tricky, but we do a lot of child support work. Alimony is based on a number of factors, including duration of the marriage and the parties’ economic positions. Retirement accounts, including pensions and 401 (k)’s, are oftentimes divided using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (a QDRO), which can be complicated legal documents. We have written many QDRO’s for clients.
If the divorce requires you to provide your wife with half of the amount of money in your 401 (k) plan, then you need to do so. If you do not, you can be held in contempt of court and face serious sanctions, including jail time. It really doesn’t matter that you think your former wife is undeserving of the funds in the account. We prepare QDROs for clients. A QDRO would be used to split a 401 (k) account. The retirement account can be divided in any manner that is required by the divorce. A QDRO is used to split not only 401 (k)’s, but also other types of retirement accounts like pensions.
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (or QDRO) is the legal way to divide various retirement accounts, including pensions and 401 (k)’s, when a couple divorces. A QDRO is a legal document that a retirement account administrator requires to split the funds related to the retirement account. It is vital that the QDRO is drafted correctly or else it will be rejected. Just because you have put off getting the QDRO for a number of years doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be done. In fact, we have prepared many QDROs for people who, for various reasons, waited to get the QDRO. While it is certainly better to get them drafted as soon as possible, just because some time has passed doesn’t mean that you can’t do it now.
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (the QDRO) are the way that many retirement accounts and pensions are divided in a divorce. Many times, in a long-duration marriage like yours, a spouse is entitled to a portion of the other spouse’s pension. Generally, the longer the marriage, the greater the share of the pension the spouse is entitled to. Of course, retirement accounts and pensions can be quite valuable and therefore they can be highly sought-after.
In a divorce, a pension is divided using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, known as a QDRO. To split a pension you would need to have a QDRO in place. And it is very important that the QDRO is properly drafted. If it is not, there can be major problems in the future. Pensions are assets and are thus often the subjects of negotiation in divorces. Sometimes pensions can involve a large amount of money, other times they are only a small percentage of an individual’s assets. We have seen many situations where pensions are the subject of negotiations between divorcing spouses.
To apportion a 401 (k) after a divorce the parties would use a QDRO (a Qualified Domestic Relations Order). A 401(k) is a very popular retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. It is tax-advantaged because it lets workers save and invest a piece of their paycheck before taxes are taken out. Taxes aren't paid until the money is withdrawn from the account in the future for retirement. In a divorce, it is commonplace to negotiate a split of the 401 (k). Sometimes it is split equally, other times it is not and the money is divided between the parties pursuant to a negotiation (for example it is divided 60/40 or 70/30 or 80/20). The division of the 401 (k) is determined by the parties and their divorce lawyers. However the 401 (k) is split, a QDRO is necessary to do it.
In many divorce situations, retirement accounts become parts of the negotiation. They can be valuable assets that both parties want. Sometimes, depending upon the type of account involved, a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is used to split a retirement plan or pension. Filing bankruptcy, however, will have no impact on the division of retirement accounts or a pension in a divorce. While retirement accounts are exempt under the bankruptcy laws, filing bankruptcy will not help you protect those accounts in a divorce, as your spouse may have a claim to some of the benefits. You seem to be mixing-up the bankruptcy and divorce laws. Please call us and we can discuss the best ways for you to handle your retirement accounts in a divorce situation.
A qualified domestic relations order (the QDRO) is used to divide a financial interest in a retirement plan. A QDRO does not have to apportion the monies equally. The parties can negotiate how a retirement plan should be divided. Sometimes they are split equally (50/50), other times they are split in different ways (for example 60/40, 70/30, 80/20, etc.). They can be subject to negotiation. And sometimes they are not split based upon a percentage basis. For example, a party may simply ask for a sum of money. So instead of doing a split of the pension but percentages, a party would get a specified amount (for example $25,000 or $75,000). We have handled many QDRO matters and each QDRO is different. It is vital that a lawyer look at all the surrounding circumstances of the case to ensure that the QDRO is done properly.
Under Georgia law, you are entitled to half of the pension that accrued during your marriage. We are familiar with the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Retirement Plan, having represented clients who were vested in the plan. Since you were married before the draft, and the pension starts to accrue when he signs an NFL contract, then it sounds like you will be entitled to half his NFL pension. If, however, he had a 10 year football career and you were married for 5 of those years, you would, generally speaking, be entitled to half of the pension accrual of those 5 years. Usually pensions are divided in divorce matters using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, a QDRO. A QDRO is a legal document that legally apportions a pension or retirement account.