If you are going through a divorce and need to divide retirement accounts, the answer is most likely YES. QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order and is simply a court order that allows the financial institution holding one’s retirement accounts to divide the assets between divorcing spouses. When a couple is going through a divorce, one very important issue that needs to be determined is how, exactly, to split their retirement accounts. This is where the QDRO comes in. The QDRO assists divorcing spouses in avoiding unnecessary penalties and taxes.
During a marriage, contributions to either spouse’s retirement accounts are marital property. Marital property is property legally owned by both spouses and to which both have a legitimate claim. Retirement accounts must always be considered as part of the entire divorce strategy or plan.
Your divorce attorney should be knowledgeable and proficient in the intricacies of the QDRO and be able to advise you through the process of establishing one. QDROs are very complicated and need to be worded properly in order to be legally valid and to accurately reflect the desired division or outcome of the retirement assets. Once established, the QDRO is submitted to the Court and becomes a Court Order directing the financial institution to divide or disburse the retirement assets. Any mistake in this process could be very costly.
If you are ready to take the next step and contact a divorce lawyer, then contact one who is experienced with these situations. I have served as a divorce/family lawyer for over 25 years. If you are a Maryland or Washington, DC resident contemplating separation or divorce, contact me for a no-obligation consultation (202.441.2107) to discuss doing so. If you choose to move forward, we can conduct our meetings remotely and discreetly or safely in person.