Question: I got a divorce from my husband almost 6 years ago and I need help finally getting some of his pension. I need a QDRO lawyer near me.
My husband worked for a company that had a pension plan. He worked there almost 35 years and then he retired. Now I think I need some help getting my share of his pension. While we were married he just worked at that company and my divorce lawyer said that I'm entitled to some of that pension, maybe half of it, and now since I'm not working I want to get some of that retirement account that I think is pretty valuable.
He was cheating and I couldn't take it anymore so I got a divorce. He was seeing one of my best friends and I found out because he went to sleep and I saw text messages that she was sending to him. We both got divorce lawyers and the divorce dragged on but finally we got divorced.
As part of the divorce the court said I was entitled to half his pension and I never took the next step to try to get it. That's because we were both working and I just didn't make it a priority for me.
Now I'm worried that I waited too long to get the QDRO and that I can't get any money. My divorce attorney at the time said that I needed to get a QDRO and now I feel like I should have gotten one done years ago.
I need to know what exactly a QDRO is and if I can still get one because now I can use part of his pension to help pay my bills and get some elective surgery.
S.K. in Dunwoody, GA
Answer: 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.