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What Is a QDRO And Should I Use One For My Divorce?

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Are you currently in the midst of a divorce? If so, you know how complex the logistics of the divorce process can be, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the legalities involved. You may have heard about a QDRO as a helpful tool, but maybe you’re unsure about what it is or what it does. To learn more about filing a QDRO to benefit your divorce, continue reading or contact a Somerset County Divorce Attorney today!


A QDRO is a qualified domestic relations order that requires a portion of one spouse’s retirement plan to be transferred to the other spouse in the event of a divorce. While a judge normally decides how the spouse’s assets and debts are split during the process, retirement plans are not automatically included in this division. So if you and your divorcing spouse plan to divide funds from a retirement plan, you’ll need a QDRO to do so. However, QDROs are only for 403(b)s and qualified plans (like 401(k)s).

If you need to pay child support, QDROs can also be used if you’re planning on transferring retirement funds to your child. The order can be made to an “alternate payee” which could either be the ex-spouse or a dependent (like your child). A QDRO is beneficial because it makes the transfer of assets much more efficient. There’s also no early withdrawal penalty from the IRS for transferring the retirement fund to your ex-spouse.


The beneficiary or alternate payee is the one who normally files a QDRO. You’ll likely need a divorce attorney to complete a QDRO. Your attorney will help you draft a proper document and send it to the retirement plan administrator for approval. Once the QDRO is accepted, it’s submitted to the court and finalized. After the document is officially completed, the ex-spouse or an alternate payee will be able to access their portion of the retirement plan. It’s important to note that you must report the received assets as if they were the plan holder. Assets placed in a non-IRA account will have an income tax, but the original retirement plan holder is the one who’s taxed.

For QDROs and other logistics of a divorce, it’s important to speak with a trusted and experienced divorce lawyer who can guide you through the process. The financial side of the process can be incredibly complex, especially for high-net-worth couples.

Looking for a talented divorce attorney? Look no further! Siragusa Law Firm is here to fight for you. Contact us today for a consultation.

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