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What is a QDRO?

As you and your spouse contemplate obtaining a Ohio divorce, you should pay particular attention to your respective retirement accounts and pension plans. In all likelihood, these represent significant assets and need to be divided fairly and equitably between you.

However, as Reuters explains, many pension plans require a QDRO in order to distribute pension plan payments to someone other than the person whose pension plan it is. QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order, and refers to the legal document the pension plan administrator must receive in order to make distributions as called for in your divorce decree and property settlement agreement. QDROs often entail highly complex provisions and language requiring the expert advice of an attorney fully knowledgeable in their vagaries.

QDRO strategy

The first thing you and/or your spouse needs to do is contact the administrator of your particular pension plan. Ask him or her if (s)he has a model QDRO form (s)he can provide you as a guideline for your own.

Should you fail to follow every single QDRO rule, you may discover to your after-the-fact horror that the pension plan distributions you thought you were going to receive never in fact show up. For instance, if you fail to adhere to the pension plan’s remarriage rule, you may fail to get any further distributions if you remarry after your divorce. Of you may get no distributions whatsoever if your ex-spouse dies soon after your divorce, but before you have put a proper QDRO in place. Consequently, best practice dictates that once your attorney drafts your own QDRO, you send a copy to the pension plan administrator so (s)he can go over it one more time and ensure that it completely complies with all rules and contains all required language.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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