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QDRO Information You Should Know!


WHAT ARE “QDROs”?

WHY DO I NEED A “QDRO”?

YOU MUST HAVE A “QUALIFIED ORDER” TO SPLIT RETIREMENT

ATTORNEY MALPRACTICE - DANGERS OF SAMPLE QDROs

TO SPLIT RETIREMENT IN DIVORCE - YOU MUST HAVE A QDRO

SHOULD WE GET THE PLAN ADMINISTRATOR’S PRE-APPROVAL?

DANGERS OF USING QDRO FORMS AND SAMPLES

DIVORCE AND THE RETIREMENT

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PENSION WHEN WE GET A DIVORCE?

WHAT IS A “QUALIFIED DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER” aka “QDRO”?

DIVORCE AND THE 401(k)

WHAT WILL A “QDRO” CONSULTANT DO FOR ME?

TAXES ON MY QDRO DISTRIBUTION

GETTING A “QDRO” FOR YOUR FIDELITY ACCOUNT

 


WHAT ARE “QDROs”?

Married persons share equally in all pension and retirement assets credited during the marriage, regardless of which party accrued the benefits. The spouse that had the benefits often feels that the other party doesn’t deserve the money accrued with their employer, but that is not true. All types of retirement benefits and accounts, including the employer contributions, are 100% marital in every divorce under every State under United States jurisdiction. If the parties had a pre-nuptial agreement, this rule may be challenged, otherwise the parties must list this asset on their financial affidavit and consider it in the split.

However, you must get a Federal court documents, in addition to any divorce document, to receive your portion which is called a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order,” also known as a “QDRO.” The ERISA consultants at Legal Dynamics are QDRO Experts, specializing exclusive in the drafting and administration of QDROs. Don’t make the mistake of using a Sample QDRO; they are written to favor and protect the plan administrators and fund managers. All divorcing parties need an expert to advocate for their best interest.

QDROs are NEVER impartial documents.

Click here to learn more or to start the process.

 

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WHY DO I NEED A “QDRO”?

Married persons share equally in all pension and retirement assets credited during the marriage, regardless of which party accrued the benefits. The spouse that had the benefits often feels that the other party doesn’t deserve the money accrued with their employer, but that is not true. All types of retirement benefits and accounts, including the employer contributions, are 100% marital in every divorce under every State under United States jurisdiction. If the parties had a pre-nuptial agreement, this rule may be challenged, otherwise the parties must list this asset on their financial affidavit and consider it in the split.

However, you must get a Federal court documents, in addition to any divorce document, to receive your portion which is called a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order,” also known as a “QDRO.” The ERISA consultants at Legal Dynamics are QDRO Experts, specializing exclusive in the drafting and administration of QDROs. Don’t make the mistake of using a Sample QDRO; they are written to favor and protect the plan administrators and fund managers. All divorcing parties need an expert to advocate for their best interest.

QDROs are NEVER impartial documents.

Click here to learn more or to start the process.

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YOU MUST HAVE A “QUALIFIED ORDER” TO SPLIT RETIREMENT

Married persons share equally in all pension and retirement assets credited during the marriage, regardless of which party accrued the benefits. The spouse that had the benefits often feels that the other party doesn’t deserve the money accrued with their employer, but that is not true. All types of retirement benefits and accounts, including the employer contributions, are 100% marital in every divorce under every State under United States jurisdiction. If the parties had a pre-nuptial agreement, this rule may be challenged, otherwise the parties must list this asset on their financial affidavit and consider it in the split.

However, you must get a Federal court documents, in addition to any divorce document, to receive your portion which is called a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order,” also known as a “QDRO.” The ERISA consultants at Legal Dynamics are QDRO Experts, specializing exclusive in the drafting and administration of QDROs. Don’t make the mistake of using a Sample QDRO; they are written to favor and protect the plan administrators and fund managers. All divorcing parties need an expert to advocate for their best interest.

QDROs are NEVER impartial documents.

Click here to learn more or to start the process.

 

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ATTORNEY MALPRACTICE - DANGERS OF SAMPLE QDROs

Using sample QDROs without extensive modifications has always been dangerous for practitioners. Due to widespread QDRO litigation, the family law attorney is in danger of malpractice unless all QDRO matters are addressed before the parties go to judgment. The only way to address all QDRO matters is to include language in the parties’ settlement or judgment AND draft a comprehensive QDRO (best when entered WITH the judgment).

THE SETTLEMENT OR JUDGMENT LANGUAGE should address these issues or your client is at risk for adverse consequences for same (Sample QDROs don’t contain these items):

1. ensure award includes vested and non-vested portions
2. ensure award includes earnings, COLAs, subsidies, supplements, and temporary benefits
3. order participant to refrain from taking distributions, loans, refunds and settlements
4. declare plan loans and attribute to proper party
5. define award using proper coverture (for inflation protection)
6. award death benefits and designate survivorship under ERISA
7. provide a release for full disclosure
8. extend client’s "insurable interest" for life insurance
9. leave estate open if the participant doesn't cooperate to ensure death protection

THE QDRO must include the statutory 11 requirements AND should clarify all of the above PLUS the following (Sample QDROs don’t contain these items):

a. extend to predecessor and successor employers and plans
b. clarify whether loan balances reduce award
c. include contributions not allocated until year end
d. transfer cost basis for after tax contributions
e. define how earnings are calculated
f. address fund allocation and direct liquidation or “in-kind” transfers
g. clarify proper coverture (for inflation protection)
h. clarify death benefits and survivorship
i. direct that the transfer will take place as soon as possible
j. direct payments be recalculated using the life expectancy of the receiving party
k. prevent conversion of benefits to a non-transferrable disability benefit
l. request segregated account
m. grant investment direction rights
n. have benefits transfer to spouse’s beneficiary(s) or estate upon death

Please pass this on to all family law practitioners.

 

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TO SPLIT RETIREMENT IN DIVORCE - YOU MUST HAVE A QDRO

Married persons share equally in all retirement benefits and assets credited during the marriage, regardless of which party accrued the benefits. The spouse that had the benefits often feels that the other party doesn’t deserve the money accrued with their employer, but that is not true. All types of retirement benefits and accounts, including the employer contributions, are 100% marital in every divorce under every State under United States jurisdiction. If the parties had a pre-nuptial agreement, this rule may be challenged, otherwise the parties must list this asset on their financial affidavit and consider it in the split.

However, you must get a Federal court documents, in addition to any divorce document, to receive your portion which is called a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order,” also known as a “QDRO.” The ERISA consultants at Legal Dynamics are QDRO Experts, specializing exclusive in the drafting and administration of QDROs. All divorcing parties need an expert to advocate for their best interest.

QDROs are NEVER impartial documents.

Click here to learn more or to start the process.

 

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SHOULD WE GET THE PLAN ADMINISTRATOR’S
PRE-APPROVAL?

Some plan administrators offer review and pre-approval of unsigned benefit transfer orders because it gives them an opportunity to request modifications which protect them and/or alleviate their liability. However, it is important to note that they can reduce your benefits to cover their costs for reviewing the orders and when you give them an advance "say" in the process, it often results in them taking liberties to request changes which are not required by law and are rarely in the client's best interest. In fact, under federal law, if they were to receive a court certified copy of the same benefit transfer order already signed by a judge, the plan administrator would have an obligation to begin the process of administering the transfer in 80% of the cases.

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DANGERS OF SAMPLE QDROs

Using sample QDROs without extensive modifications has always been dangerous. All QDRO matters must be addressed before the parties go to judgment or benefits are subject to loss or forfeiture. The only way to address all QDRO matters is to include language in the parties’ settlement or judgment AND draft a comprehensive QDRO (best when entered WITH the judgment).

THE SETTLEMENT OR JUDGMENT LANGUAGE should address these issues or the client is at risk for adverse consequences for same (Sample QDROs don’t contain these items):

1. ensure award includes vested and non-vested portions
2. ensure award includes earnings, COLAs, subsidies, supplements, and temporary benefits
3. order participant to refrain from taking distributions, loans, refunds and settlements
4. declare plan loans and attribute to proper party
5. define award using proper coverture (for inflation protection)
6. award death benefits and designate survivorship under ERISA
7. provide a release for full disclosure
8. extend client’s "insurable interest" for life insurance
9. leave estate open if the participant doesn't cooperate to ensure death protection

THE QDRO must include the statutory 11 requirements AND should clarify all of the above PLUS the following (Sample QDROs don’t contain these items):

a. extend to predecessor and successor employers and plans
b. clarify whether loan balances reduce award
c. include contributions not allocated until year end
d. transfer cost basis for after tax contributions
e. define how earnings are calculated
f. address fund allocation and direct liquidation or "in-kind" transfers
g. clarify proper coverture (for inflation protection)
h. clarify death benefits and survivorship
i. direct that the transfer will take place as soon as possible
j. direct payments be recalculated using the life expectancy of the receiving party
k. prevent conversion of benefits to a non-transferrable disability benefit
l. request segregated account
m. grant investment direction rights
n. have benefits transfer to spouse’s beneficiary(s) or estate upon death

 

Back to top

 

DIVORCE AND THE RETIREMENT

Married persons share equally in all retirement benefits and assets credited during the marriage, regardless of which party accrued the benefits. The spouse that had the benefits often feels that the other party doesn’t deserve the money accrued with their employer, but that is not true. Retirement benefits, including the employer contributions, are 100% marital in every divorce under every State under United States jurisdiction. If the parties had a pre-nuptial agreement, this rule may be challenged, otherwise the parties must list this asset on their financial affidavit and consider it in the split.

However, you must get a Federal court documents, in addition to any divorce document, to receive your portion which is called a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order,” also known as a “QDRO.” The ERISA consultants at Legal Dynamics are QDRO Experts, specializing exclusive in the drafting and administration of QDROs. All divorcing parties need an expert to advocate for their best interest.

QDROs are NEVER impartial documents.

Click here to learn more or to start the process.

 

Back to top

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PENSION WHEN WE GET A DIVORCE?

Married persons share equally in all pension and retirement assets credited during the marriage, regardless of which party accrued the benefits. The spouse that had the benefits often feels that the other party doesn’t deserve the money accrued with their employer, but that is not true. All types of retirement benefits and accounts, including the employer contributions, are 100% marital in every divorce under every State under United States jurisdiction. If the parties had a pre-nuptial agreement, this rule may be challenged, otherwise the parties must list this asset on their financial affidavit and consider it in the split.

However, you must get a Federal court documents, in addition to any divorce document, to receive your portion which is called a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order,” also known as a “QDRO.” The ERISA consultants at Legal Dynamics are QDRO Experts, specializing exclusive in the drafting and administration of QDROs. Don’t make the mistake of using a Sample QDRO; they are written to favor and protect the plan administrators and fund managers. All divorcing parties need an expert to advocate for their best interest.

QDROs are NEVER impartial documents.

Click here to learn more or to start the process.

 

Back to top

 

WHAT IS A “QUALIFIED DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER”
aka “QDRO”?

Married persons share equally in all pension and retirement assets credited during the marriage, regardless of which party accrued the benefits. The spouse that had the benefits often feels that the other party doesn’t deserve the money accrued with their employer, but that is not true. All types of retirement benefits and accounts, including the employer contributions, are 100% marital in every divorce under every State under United States jurisdiction. If the parties had a pre-nuptial agreement, this rule may be challenged, otherwise the parties must list this asset on their financial affidavit and consider it in the split.

However, you must get a Federal court documents, in addition to any divorce document, to receive your portion which is called a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order,” also known as a “QDRO.” The ERISA consultants at Legal Dynamics are QDRO Experts, specializing exclusive in the drafting and administration of QDROs. Don’t make the mistake of using a Sample QDRO; they are written to favor and protect the plan administrators and fund managers. All divorcing parties need an expert to advocate for their best interest.

QDROs are NEVER impartial documents.

Click here to learn more or to start the process.

 

Back to top

 

DIVORCE AND THE 401(k)

Married persons share equally in all 401(k) assets credited during the marriage, regardless of which party accrued the benefits. The spouse that had the 401k benefits often feels that the other party doesn’t deserve the money accrued with their employer, but that is not true. 401(k) accounts, including the employer matching contributions, are 100% marital in every divorce under every State under United States jurisdiction. If the parties had a pre-nuptial agreement, this rule may be challenged, otherwise the parties must list this asset on their financial affidavit and consider it in the split.

However, you must get a Federal court documents, in addition to any divorce document, to receive your portion which is called a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order,” also known as a “QDRO.” The ERISA consultants at Legal Dynamics are QDRO Experts, specializing exclusive in the drafting and administration of QDROs. All divorcing parties need an expert to advocate for their best interest.

QDROs are NEVER impartial documents.

Click here to learn more or to start the process.

 

Back to top

 

WHAT WILL A “QDRO” CONSULTANT DO FOR ME?

Your QDRO Consultant will advocate for your best interest over that of the other party, the plan administrator and the fund manager to make sure you receive your full share of retirement benefits. A QDRO that is drafted as early in the divorce process can:

1. ensure award includes vested and non-vested portions
2. ensure award includes earnings, COLAs, subsidies, supplements, and temporary benefits
3. declare plan loans and attribute to proper party
4. define award using proper coverture (for inflation protection)
5. extend to predecessor and successor employers and plans
6. clarify whether loan balances reduce award
7. include contributions not allocated until year end
8. transfer cost basis for after tax contributions
9. define how earnings are calculated
10. address fund allocation and direct liquidation or “in-kind” transfers
11. clarify proper coverture (for inflation protection)
12. direct that the transfer will take place as soon as possible
13. direct payments be recalculated using the life expectancy of the receiving party
14. request segregated account
15. grant investment direction rights

* Parties who have a QDRO drafted after the divorce risk losing some or all of the above.

In addition, your QDRO consultant can be engaged to draft settlement language to:

a. award death benefits and designate survivorship under ERISA
b. provide a release for full disclosure
c. extend client’s "insurable interest" for life insurance
d. leave estate open if the participant doesn't cooperate to ensure death protection
e. clarify death benefits and survivorship
f. prevent conversion of benefits to a non-transferrable disability benefit
g. have benefits transfer to spouse’s beneficiary(s) or estate upon death

* Without death protection, benefits may be forfeited and/or cease upon either party’s death.

All divorcing parties need an expert to advocate for their best interest.

QDROs are NEVER impartial documents.

Click here to learn more or to start the process.

 

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TAXES ON MY QDRO DISTRIBUTION

Obtaining a properly drafted Qualified Domestic Relations Order will ensure that you are not subject to the 10% excise tax (penalty tax) for distributions from retirement plans before the age of 59 ½. However, ordinary income tax will apply on any portion of transferred benefits that you do not rollover.

You do not need to decide what portion you intend to rollover until the QDRO process is complete. When the QDRO is finalized, you will have the legal right to contact the plan administrator directly regarding the plan’s distribution options. At which time, the plan administrator will provide you with an IRS mandated tax notice that provides detailed instructions about tax ramifications of the various distribution options.

All divorcing parties need a QDRO expert to advocate for their best interest.

QDROs are NEVER impartial documents.

Click here to learn more or to start the process.

 

Back to top

 

GETTING A “QDRO” FOR YOUR FIDELITY ACCOUNT

Married persons share equally in all retirement benefits and assets credited during the marriage, regardless of which party accrued the benefits. The spouse that had the benefits often feels that the other party doesn’t deserve the money accrued with their employer, but that is not true. All types of retirement benefits and accounts, including the employer contributions, are 100% marital in every divorce under every State under United States jurisdiction. If the parties had a pre-nuptial agreement, this rule may be challenged, otherwise the parties must list this asset on their financial affidavit and consider it in the split.

However, you must get a Federal court documents, in addition to any divorce document, to receive your portion which is called a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order,” also known as a “QDRO.” The ERISA consultants at Legal Dynamics are QDRO Experts, specializing exclusive in the drafting and administration of QDROs. Don’t make the mistake of using a Sample QDRO; they are written to favor and protect the plan administrators and fund managers. All divorcing parties need an expert to advocate for your best interest.

Click here to learn more or to start the process.

 

Back to top