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QDRO Basics (#4 of 5 Installments)

by Norris Law Group on February 13, 2014

qdro-attorneyOur previous installment  discussed how a QDRO should be written to compliment a divorce decree, as well as when a QDRO should be drafted. This installment examines 401(k) and pension QDROs after retirement.

A 401(k) QDRO After Retirement

Hopefully the funds have not already been disbursed. If they have, then there is nothing in the account for the plan administrator to disburse. The ex-spouse can ask the plan participant to pay the share owed or even sue for the portion. Most likely, the money is gone and the alternate payee ex-spouse is out of luck. If the funds have not been disbursed yet, there is not a problem. Once the plan administrator receives a proposed DRO, the account will be flagged, usually for 18 months or until a QDRO is received, whichever comes first. This will remind the plan administrator that there is a QDRO in process and to not disburse funds until the flag is removed. When the QDRO is received, the plan administrator can implement the order and disburse the funds to both the plan participant and alternate payee, if applicable.

A Pension QDRO After Retirement

For a pension, any previous distributions will be unrecoverable by the alternate payee. A proposed DRO still needs to be sent to the plan administrator, so that the future distributions are not lost as well. This will put the plan administrator on notice that there is a QDRO in process for that specific account. Once the plan administrator receives the QDRO signed by the court, the distributions can be set for the alternate payee.

Although QDROs are required by federal law, many attorneys do not draft them, based on their extremely technical requirements. Attorney Graham Norris has several years of experience drafting QDROs from private plans, government plans and the military. Other attorneys also refer their clients to Graham Norris for the drafting of QDROs. He can  draft QDROs for divorce decrees originating in Utah, Idaho, California or Wyoming. Contact his offices today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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