Question: I'm getting a divorce from my husband and he has a couple of retirement accounts we need to divide because I get a portion of each. We negotiated that in the divorce and, frankly, I need the money. I know he has a 401(k) I think through Fidelity or Vanguard, and he has a pension too. I know I need a QDRO so I can get my share of the pension and 401(k). That's why I'm writing to you because I know you are QDRO lawyers and you were recommended by my friend. Basically I need a great QDRO lawyer in Georgia.
I need the money because during our marriage I never worked full-time, at least after our first child was born. I was a substitute teacher and sold jewelry to my friends, which I made myself with silver and gold. But I didn't make much money.
Our marriage didn't work basically because he drank too much and then got hooked on pain pills. And when he drank he got nasty and insulted me and our little girls. He wouldn't get help, although I asked him many times over the years to see a counselor, therapist, or psychologist. He just said everybody drinks and he didn't have a problem, although he drank liquor all the time, even sometimes at breakfast. Now I think some of it may have been because of mental issues, like depression and bipolar that were never diagnosed.
We should be divorced within a month and since we lived in Fulton County the divorce hopefully will be signed by the judge soon.
Here are some questions for you about my QDRO: Can I use one QDRO for both the pension and the 401(k)? Can a judge in Cobb County, which is where I live now, approve it, even though we were divorced in Fulton County? Will it be easy or hard to find out which company administers the 401(k)? I really want a QDRO lawyer near me.
H.L. in Marietta, Georgia
Answer: You are correct, 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.
If you are interested in dividing a 401(k) and a pension, you will need two separate QDROs, one for each account. Under the law, you cannot divide both with the same QDRO.
If you were divorced in the Fulton County Superior Court, you will need a judge of that court to approve the QDRO. So even if you live in Cobb County now, a judge there can't approve the QDRO, because the divorce was in Fulton, thus that court would lack jurisdiction.
Your husband should be cooperate in having the QDRO drafted because that was agreed to in the divorce and the judge ordered it. If he isn't cooperative, then we can bring a contempt motion to make him cooperate, and if he doesn't cooperate a judge can impose sanctions on him and those sanctions can be very tough.
When you need a QDRO lawyer, please call us at 678-215-4106.