QDRO 1024x674 - Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

Orlando Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) Attorney

When getting divorced, it’s important to make sure the property settlement is fair. An important part of this process is dividing retirement accounts. A procedure called a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) can be a key tool in making this happen.

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a court order that will assign the legal right of someone’s retirement account to a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent. In other words, it instructs a pension plan to pay out a certain amount of money from the account to meet the primary account holder’s obligations to pay alimony and/or child support, or to resolve a marital property settlement agreement.

Do I Need a QDRO?

Because retirement accounts often make up a large part of a couple’s community assets, splitting the account is often the only equitable way of dividing the assets at the end of a marriage. In order to avoid severe tax consequences, these accounts may be divided by court order known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A retirement plan will require a QDRO to split any kind of retirement plan, including both contribution plans, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), or a defined benefits pension program. QDROs are also used to enforce a judgement to pay child support, alimony, or other marital property rights to a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent.

The Advantage of a QDRO

Not only do QDRO’s allow individuals to distribute assets without taxation or penalties for early distribution, QDROs are beneficial for other reasons. In many divorce judgments, a substantial risk exists that a spouse will never receive funds from a retirement account. QDROs authorize exactly when a payment will occur and the exact amount of pending payments.

When Should I Seek a QDRO?

If a person is seeking a Qualified Domestic Relations Order in order to divide their former spouse’s retirement or pension fund, the best time to petition the court is before the divorce is finalized. It is preferable to incorporate a QDRO into the divorce. If this is not included with the initial divorce, the spouse wanting to split the retirement account down the road will have to try to reopen the divorce. This can often be a time-consuming and an expensive process.

Do I Need An Attorney Prepare My QDRO?

It is well worth it to hire an attorney with considerable experience in the preparation of QDROs to prepare (or review) your QDRO.  The benefit of retaining your own attorney (for the proper protection of your interests) far outweighs the potential cost of failing to receive the benefits you agreed to.  Either party to the QDRO is at risk of losing substantial benefits when the QDRO is not properly written. A QDRO can be very complicated. They must be drafted to accomplish the goals ordered by the final judgement of dissolution without giving one party more benefits than contained in the ruling.

Contact Jenkinson Legal Today

If you are currently going through the process of a divorce, or are thinking about filing for a divorce, and either you or your spouse is a participant in a retirement plan, contact Jenkinson Legal for a free consultation regarding either the preparation of your QDRO or the review of a QDRO previously prepared to ensure your best interest is protected. At Jenkinson Legal we can explain your options, protect your rights, and help you take the appropriate legal steps toward a brighter future for yourself and your children. Contact Attorney AnnMarie Jenkinson of Jenkinson Legal at (321) 837-9547 with your Family Law questions, or to schedule a free initial consultation.

Jenkinson Legal has many satisfied clients throughout seven counties of Central Florida – Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Polk, Volusia, and Brevard. Here at the Florida Family Law office of Jenkinson Legal we have one simple objective: provide personalized, one on one attention to our clients’ legal worries so they can concentrate on life and family. Contact Jenkinson Legal today to learn more about our experience and success at (321) 837-9547. We are conveniently located in beautiful downtown Winter Park, Florida.

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