During the dissolution of a marriage in Massachusetts, assets are typically divided. However, the division process does not happen automatically with retirement plans. This is why a qualified domestic relations order, or a QDRO, is an important part of the divorce process when retirement funds are involved.
QDROs are court orders used for dividing retirement plans, such as 403(b) plans. With a QDRO, a divorced spouse has the right to receive a portion of the retirement funds in his or her former spouse’s employer-sponsored plan. A QDRO must generally include both parties’ names and most recent mailing addresses. It needs to also include the percentage or dollar amount of the benefits that the recipient will receive.
During a divorce proceeding, the two spouses will pinpoint the assets they must divide, which include retirement plans. For a retirement plan, an attorney will need to draft a QDRO, and then, a judge will issue it. Next, this legal document must be submitted to the administrator of the pension plan or retirement account of the spouse who will be giving a portion of this money to the other spouse.
Property division, including dividing a retirement plan, can seem overwhelming due to the many moving parts involved. However, an attorney in Massachusetts can provide the guidance needed to make sure that no steps are overlooked as a divorcing spouse pursues his or her fair share of assets. The attorney’s ultimate goal is to ensure that the client’s rights and best interests are protected during all stages of the divorce process.
Source: investopedia.com, “What’s a QDRO?“, Jean Folger, Feb. 26, 2018