Guide to QDROs in Florida

What your marital property rights in Florida say about retirement assets.

Do you know what a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is? If you’re divorcing in Florida, it’s vital that you know about this legal tool, which can help you get your share of retirement benefits.

Let’s take a look at QDRO procedures in Florida and how they help you get your fair share of a pension plan.

Need help with your QDRO? Our trusted partner, SimpleQDRO, can help.

How do QDROs work in Florida?

A QDRO is a court order that provides for the allocation of retirement benefits between divorcing spouses. It ensures that both parties receive their fair share of these benefits from each participant’s account, thus providing financial security post-divorce.

In Florida, retirement benefits accrued during the marriage are considered marital property. Sometimes, they are referred to as “community property,” meaning the marriage community (the couple) both partake of it. Therefore, retirement benefits are subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. 

A Florida court can divide a retirement plan in a divorce through a QDRO. The QDRO allows the court to award a portion of one former spouse's benefits to the other spouse when needed. However, each retirement plan has specific rules and requirements for QDROs. These rules must be followed to ensure the order is accepted.

Block quote: A QDRO is an essential component of divorce proceedings, particularly in situations where one spouse has substantially more retirement savings than the other. 

Read: How a Financial Advisor Can Assist You in Mediation

Can a Florida court divide a retirement plan in divorce?

Florida is an equitable distribution state. What does this mean? When a couple’s property is divided in divorce proceedings, all of it must be divided fairly. Note that this does not mean they will be divided 50/50, or equally. In fact, property in an equitable distribution state is often divided after much thoughtful consideration on by the court as to what is most fair.

When assigning each portion of the benefits, the court will consider things like the length of the marriage, each person’s economic circumstances, each person’s contributions to the marriage, and any interruptions of personal careers or educational opportunities that occurred during the marriage.

Retirement benefits are considered property in this context. The portion earned during the marriage is subject to division. But determining a fair division can be complicated due to fluctuating values and future variables. This is where a QDRO is so helpful.

The QDRO allows the court to assign a share of a spouse's retirement benefits to the other spouse, ensuring a fair division and providing for future financial stability. It is a legal mechanism that directly transfers funds from one ex-spouse's retirement account to the other ex-spouse’s retirement account – without incurring any penalties for early withdrawal. 

A QDRO allows for a smoother, more equitable division of assets and aids in protecting both parties' financial futures post-divorce.

What types of retirement plans do QDROs cover?

QDROs can cover a wide range of qualified retirement plans, including 401Ks, pensions, and other deferred compensation plans. Notably, some retirement plans, such as military and state government employee pensions, may require separate orders.

Hello Divorce can help you finalize your marital settlement agreement. Click here to learn more.

When and how to file a QDRO in Florida

The process of filing a QDRO in Florida involves several steps. First, the order must be drafted. It must contain all necessary information, including the name and last known mailing address of the participant and each alternate payee. 

Then, the  QDRO must then be reviewed by the plan administrator and pre-approved before being signed by a judge.

The cost of preparing a QDRO varies depending on the complexity of the retirement benefits. Some attorneys charge a flat fee; others bill hourly. It is recommended to file a QDRO as soon as possible after the divorce is finalized to prevent any complications.

Read: Divorce Decree vs. Divorce Certificate

Can Hello Divorce help me file a QDRO?

Yes, Hello Divorce can assist you in filing a QDRO. With our flat-rate legal advice and partnership with SimpleQDRO, we aim to simplify the divorce settlement process for our clients. Our team of experienced professionals can guide you through each step of the process, safeguarding your rights and helping you receive your fair share of retirement benefits.

To learn more, please schedule a free 15-minute phone call with a friendly account representative.


Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.