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QDRO Basics (#5 of 5 Installments)

by Norris Law Group on February 14, 2014

qdro-attorneyIn the previous four installments of this series, we have examined issues such as how a QDRO sets up the division of retirement assets after a divorce, examples of the language which should be included in a QDROhow a QDRO should be written to compliment a divorce decree and at what point a QDRO should be drafted, and 401(k) and pension QDROs after retirement. In this final installment, we discuss the final steps of setting up a QDRO as part of your divorce.

Send a Draft To The Plan Administrator

Before a QDRO is signed by the court, it is a DRO—a domestic relations order. Whether or not the plan administrator has model language, send a draft of your DRO, to see if it would be approved. If it would not, oftentimes the plan administrator will tell you what sections need to be fixed. Once the plan administrator “pre-approves” the draft, you need to send a copy to the ex-spouse or their attorney for approval. Their approval is shown by their signature on the proposed order. Once you have their approval, file a copy with the court. If the court accepts the order, a judge will sign it—this makes the order qualified. The QDRO can then be sent to the plan administrator for implementation.

If the court does not accept the order, the judge will often provide a statement as to why. Until the issue is resolved the DRO will not become a QDRO. The plan administrator will not accept anything less than a QDRO to split retirement accounts.

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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