My QDRO has been filed. Now what?

There is a lot to think about after divorce, and that includes thinking about your Qualified Domestic Relations Order(s) (QDRO), which will divide your retirement plan(s). You may have questions after your QDRO is filed and sent to your retirement plan: What are both parties’ rights, responsibilities and next steps? What should the participant (aka member or employee) and the former spouse (aka nonmember, alternate payee, payee) expect and do?

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Retirement benefits

Divide, Equalize and Offset or Cash Out Retirement Accounts?

There are several types of retirement benefits that you or your spouse may have. The IRS provides descriptions of the different plans here. The most common plans are defined benefit plans (think: pensions), defined contribution plans such as profit sharing plans and 401k’s, and IRAs. Most mid to large employers have two types of plans for their employees – a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan.

Your first inquiry is determining whether all or any of the retirement asset is marital or community property. The asset is all or partially marital or community property to the extent employee or employer contributions were made during the marriage.

Then you basically have two choices. You can either divide the retirement benefit or you can figure out the value of it (equalize) and offset it against some other marital asset.

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You can still get a divorce, even with court closures. Here’s how.
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