03. QDRO Preparation
Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)
A “QDRO" is a legal document that instructs the custodian of an entity sponsored retirement plan to divide interests in the plan between the employee participant and the non-employee spouse as part of a divorce settlement. QDROs are typically required by a Plan Administrator to split any retirement plan or pension subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). This legal requirement includes most Defined Contribution and Defined Benefit plans (which may be commonly known as a 401(k), 401(a), 403(b), or a 457 plan).
QDROs are generally entered in conjunction with or subsequent to the finalization of a divorce which is concluded with a marital settlement agreement. When a participant is taking current withdrawals from a qualified plan (which is often the case for retirees), a QDRO may be drafted to include provisions which satisfy child support and/or spousal support arrangements. Quite simply, a QDRO lets the plan administrator know when & how to split retirement benefits incident to a divorce.
Our firm operates as a QDRO specialist in the East Bay. Credentialed as a Certified QDRO Specialist™ (CQS™), we have the specific and unique understanding of the nuances and complexities involved in QDRO preparation. QDROs can be time intensive and are highly technical in nature. Each Defined Benefit Plan & Defined Contribution plan is unique and requires an integrated understanding of a plans' benefit schedules, payment options, specially defined legal terms, and legal procedures for drafting a QDRO. Drafting the QDRO improperly can cost both the attorney and the client time and money.
In conjunction with drafting a QDRO, we can also determine the separate and community interests in the plan. Moreover, we can define the different options available for division of any community interest under the rules of the plan. For more information on how we can help value these plans prior to preparing a QDRO, please see our service page labeled “Valuations”.
23 Years of Accumulated Practice
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If you would like us to review of your case, we offer a complimentary initial consultation. During this first meeting we will determine how best to assist you and your legal team; addressing the scope of the work to be performed.