What Is a Qdro?

Alan R. Burton Attorney at Law

Dividing money and property in a divorce can always be complex. However, the process can become more complicated if one or both spouses have retirement accounts. Like any other assets, investments, or property, the state of Florida requires equitable distribution of the retirement accounts between the spouses. The process of dividing retirement accounts can require additional paperwork, calculations, and more, so it is important to have an attorney on your side who understands how to negotiate for the fairest division of these accounts in accordance with Florida law.

One important tool in dividing rights to retirement accounts is the Qualified Domestic Relations Order, commonly called the QDRO. When a person owns a retirement account, he or she will likely initially be the only payee who will receive the proceeds of that account. However, retirement funds saved and invested during a marriage are considered to be marital property, even if the funds only came as a result of the job of one spouse. In the event of a divorce, one spouse may obtain the rights to also be an alternate payee for the retirement account.

However, certain plans such as those under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) will not simply pay the funds to an alternate payee without the appropriate paperwork. In such situations, a QDRO is needed to ensure the divided funds go to the former spouse or other dependent.

A QDRO is a court order that legally instructs the retirement or pension plan to split the payouts among the designated payees according to the percentages or amounts set out in the QDRO. A QDRO can be used to obtain retirement funds for the following reasons:

  • As part of the division of marital property;
  • As part of spousal support payments;
  • As part of child support payments.

Simply because divorcing spouses agree to divide retirement accounts does not mean that the retirement plan is under any legal obligation to do so unless it has a QDRO. The amount that must be paid according to the QDRO will depend on many factors including whether there were retirement savings prior to the marriage or any specific property division agreements that divided the accounts in a way that was not 50% for each spouse.

In order to be valid, a QDRO must have many specific pieces of information, including:

  • The name of the retirement plan;
  • The full name, social security numbers, and contact information for both the initial payee (the employee) and any new alternate payees under the QDRO;
  • The amount to be paid to each payee and the duration for benefits to be paid to the alternate payee, if applicable.

Contact a Qualified Divorce Lawyer in Boca Raton Today

Dividing assets in divorce can be relatively simple or can be extremely complicated. Whether your property is minimal or whether you and your spouse have multiple retirement accounts, business interests, real estate properties, and more, the law office of Alan R. Burton in Boca Raton can help you. Mr. Burton is a highly experienced family law attorney and understands how to handle divorces involving high or low assets in the most efficient way possible. Please call for a free consultation at 954-220-1660 as soon as possible.

Client Reviews

Alan R. Burton is a good human being but truly a great lawyer. Alan R. Burton took my very weak case but with his dedication and smartness Alan R. Burton ended up winning it for me and most important Alan R. Burton won the case with 0% tolerance for lies and 100% for truth. I’m simply convinced with...

Amer A.

"Alan Burton represented me on a tough child support case. He was extremely professional, aggressive and ethical in the courtroom. He is very honest and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend him for any case, no questions asked. Thank you Mr. Burton for all of your help and support through this...

Abigail A.

"As a single working mother of two young children, I totally appreciated Alan's flexibility to E mail and to converse by phone. There were times I could only respond or ask questions regarding my case well after 6 P.M. and Alan always made himself available to suit my schedule. Alan is a single dad...

Stephanie C.

"I give great pleasure in writing this review for Mr. Alan Burton. He was a tremendous help in resolving my foreign divorce/child custody case. Very competent, knowledgeable and always available; day and night. I am located in the Middle East and had a very complicated divorce/child custody case...

David A.

"As any devoted parent who loves their children, imagine the thought of your children being abducted by another parent. The feeling of not knowing if you will ever get them back, the anxiety of court proceedings, and a possible International custody battle. This is something I would never want any...

Stefan B.

Get in Touch

  1. 1 Free Consultation
  2. 2 40 Years of Experience
  3. 3 Speak Directly to an Attorney
Fill out the contact form or call us at (954) 229-1660 to schedule your free consultation.

Leave Us a Message