A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a way for courts to divide retirement benefits in a divorce. The beneficiary, or alternate payee, is typically the ex-spouse. However, retirement plans can also pay a child or other dependent.
Splitting marital property is difficult, especially with benefits and retirement plans. To learn more about the QDRO process, continue reading this article.
What if your spouse does not cooperate?
Your spouse may not cooperate with you when learning more about their retirement plan. However, this is not a serious problem. All you have to do is contact your spouse’s employer and request the contact information for the plan provider. The provider will send you a copy of your spouse’s benefits. According to Alaska Court Rule 26.1, your spouse must sign a release form for all their benefits in the event of a divorce.
QDROs have limitations in their scope. For example, the alternate payee cannot receive increased benefits from their ex-spouse’s or guardian’s retirement account. In addition, the payments made to an alternate payee cannot supersede amounts already owed to another alternate payee from another QDRO. Also, if the spouse, child or dependent is not already on the retirement plan, a QDRO cannot add them to the plan during the divorce process.
Not everyone needs to file for a QDRO during a divorce. But if your marital property includes a retirement plan, it is best to start the drafting process early. Consult with your attorney about filing the proper paperwork, and submit it as soon as possible. If done right, you can conclude the divorce proceedings and QDRO at the same time.