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In many cases involving divorce or legal separation, there is an issue of division of retirement benefits acquired by one or both parties between the date of marriage and the date of separation. Any retirement benefits earned are considered a community property asset. If there is a court order through agreement of the parties or by final Judgment to divide this asset, it may require a “QDRO” so that the employer’s administrator of the funds can actually make the court ordered division of them, and “roll” them over into a 401(k) or IRA in the non-employee spouse’s name, without the parties suffering early withdrawal penalties or taxes.
This is considered a post-judgment process, although it can be done at any time during the divorce, by agreement. But, because it is always a separate order, and not part of the final judgment paperwork, it is not always addressed at the time the divorce is final. Many times it is put on the back burner, as it were, and not addressed for several months, years and even decades.
Each employer, union or business may have a different method for this division of funds. Some are simple and can be handled through a series of forms between the parties and the administrator. However, in many cases, the process requires a lengthy legal document that is done for their specific situation which may require the assistance of a document preparer.
We are able to be prepare QDROs and can work as a go-between between the company and you. The employer’s administrator directs exactly how the document is to be prepared and OK’s the final document prior to the parties signatures and the eventual signature of the Judge making it an actual court order. Any decisions as to the division and distribution of funds is made between the administrator and the parties asking for the QDRO.