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What is a QDRO in a divorce?

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In a divorce, there is a legal decree known as a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) that requires a portion of an individual’s retirement plan to be paid to their former spouse. Essentially, this judgment divides a spouse’s retirement plans in the event of a divorce. However, a QDRO could assign a portion of retirement funds to go to a child. If the dissolution of your marriage is imminent, contact one of our trusted and experienced Union County Divorce & Family Law Attorneys who can help you request a QDRO. 

What does a QDRO do in a divorce?

In New Jersey, retirement funds are considered marital property. This means they are up for division in the event of a divorce. When a spouse wants a portion of their ex’s retirement funds to be divided in a divorce, they must request a QDRO. This is a legal document that requires a specific amount of a spouse’s retirement benefits to be assigned to their former spouse. However, the funds could be assigned to pay for alimony, marital property rights, and child support. If an individual is granted a QDRO it must comply with the domestic relations laws in New Jersey. This means it must comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) which protects beneficiaries. A judge must sign a QDRO for retirement assets to be distributed and transferred. However, before a judge signs a QDRO they will asses the financial situation of both parties to determine if the request is reasonable. If accepted spouses may be assigned up to 50% of their spouse’s retirement benefits. Spouses who are granted QDROs are referred to as alternate payees. The money assigned in a QDRO does not have tax penalties.

What types of retirement plans are up for division?

In a QDRO there are only certain kinds of retirement plans that can be divided which include:

  • 401 (k) retirmenet plans
  • 403 (b) retirmenet plans
  • 457 retirement plans
  • Tax-sheltered annuities
  • Profit sharing and money purchase pans
  • Employee stock ownership plans
  • Any other qualified retirement plans

All of the above can be divided into a QDRO in the event of a divorce. However, certain retirement plans cannot be divided with a QDRO. Retirement plans that are not up for division include:

  • IRAs
  • Military pensions
  • government pensions
  • Differed annuities
  • Differed contribution
  • Any other retirement plan that is not qualified

Depending on the type of retirement account individuals have, they may or may not be able to be divided in a divorce through a QDRO request. Individuals who wish to receive a portion of their spouse’s retirement benefits should request a QDRO to help them financially after a divorce. In certain cases, individuals are dependents and rely on their spouse’s income. A QDRO would be extremely beneficial in this scenario. Regardless of whether or not your spouse is the breadwinner, individuals may request a QDRO in their divorce.

If you are seeking a divorce and wish to request a QDRO, reach out to one of our adept and knowledgeable team members. With our years of experience, we can help you achieve favorable results.

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Our firm believes that exploring alternatives to litigation can greatly benefit our client. Our firm’s established mediation practice can help you resolve family law issues more efficiently, amicably and at a lower cost. If you are interested in knowing more about our mediation services, contact the firm to discuss your situation.

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– Clarissa –

“Robyn Ross handled my two cases and won both, her passion and expertise was beyond a 5-star rating. She communicated with me through both cases...”

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“Liz represented me throughout a long and difficult divorce process. She was a godsend. Her knowledge, compassion, dedication, and commitment are unparalleled. I can not...”

– Peter –

“The hardest part of going through a divorce or separation is the children. I’m so thankful that I had this firm represent my case. Ross...”

– Paula –

“This is a great counsel team. Very knowledgeable, professional and compassionate. They also make you feel like you are their only client, very attentive!”

– Bettyna J. –

“This firm and it's team are the best out there, hands down. Robyn Ross helped me through a difficult time. Something that should have been...”

– Nestor –

“Robyn navigated me through a difficult period and explained every piece of the process in great detail along the way. I know in the end...”

– Clarissa –

“Robyn Ross handled my two cases and won both, her passion and expertise was beyond a 5-star rating. She communicated with me through both cases...”

– Abdul –

“Liz represented me throughout a long and difficult divorce process. She was a godsend. Her knowledge, compassion, dedication, and commitment are unparalleled. I can not...”

– Peter –

“The hardest part of going through a divorce or separation is the children. I’m so thankful that I had this firm represent my case. Ross...”

– Paula –

“This is a great counsel team. Very knowledgeable, professional and compassionate. They also make you feel like you are their only client, very attentive!”

– Bettyna J. –