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Who files the QDRO if you split a retirement account in divorce?

November 6, 2020 | Firm News

Splitting up your property will be one of the more difficult parts of getting a divorce. Certain assets are more likely to be the subject of significant contention between spouses than others. Your most valuable assets, such as your marital home and your retirement accounts or pensions, will likely factor heavily into the property settlement in your divorce.

Even if the account is in your spouse’s name, you likely have the right to a share of the pension or retirement savings your ex accumulated during your marriage. If you have to divide an existing retirement account, you may end up needing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) from the court. Who usually produces and then files a QDRO during a divorce?

The attorney for the spouse receiving a share usually does the paperwork

A QDRO instructs the professional in charge of handling the retirement accounts or pension to create a new account and transfer a specific portion of the existing balance into that new account. It is the result of a divorce ruling, but it is usually approved, not created by, the courts.

As the person theoretically receiving a share of your spouse’s retirement benefits or pension, you will have to have your attorney draft the QDRO and then submit it to the courts for approval. After that, it is still your responsibility to make sure that the plan administrator follows through with the QDRO. Timely filing can be critical, as your ex could diminish the account if you wait too long to ask for your share.

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