A qualified domestic relations order legally requires the division of a retirement account in a divorce. The Alaska court will issue a QDRO that mandates the transfer of a portion of a person’s retirement funds to his or her former spouse.
Review the basics about QDROs if you plan to end your marriage in Alaska.
Who needs a QDRO
Couples need a QDRO only when their divorce agreement divides one spouse’s retirement account as marital property. When each couple has his or her own retirement investments, they may decide to each keep their separate accounts, which does not require a QDRO. In some cases, a spouse who does not have retirement savings negotiates to retain other assets of similar value rather than seeking a QDRO.
The QDRO process
During a divorce, each spouse must provide full financial disclosure and sign a release form to allow the other spouse to access information about health insurance and other financial holdings, including retirement investments. The court will use this information to fairly divide marital property when a couple cannot agree without litigation.
The court will issue the QDRO to the retirement plan with the terms of the mandated division. A valid Alaska QDRO must include the names of all affected plans, the names and contact information of both spouses, the percentage or amount that each person should receive from each plan, and the specific dates the order covers.
The QDRO cannot require the retirement plan provider to increase the value of the account, add new benefits, or create a qualified joint annuity. The court cannot create a QDRO for a retirement account that is already under the terms of a different QDRO.