A QDRO is a written agreement that must be structured in a specific way to be legal and accepted by the court.
QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order. It is something that individuals seek when there is a dissolution of marriage, to help divide the retirement plan of two parties who were previously married.
Who Needs a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?
Superseding Missouri state’s divorce laws, federal law prohibits the transfer or assignment of any retirement plan that you have earned interest on to someone else. Congress has made an exception to the federal mandate, however, and allows those who seek a dissolution of marriage in Missouri the ability to assign retirement interest to someone other than the person who earned it – such as a child, a dependent, or a spouse – who wasn’t the original person named on the retirement plan.
For qualified domestic relations orders, an alternate payee can be anyone who is currently receiving any benefits. The most likely alternate players are a former spouse or the spouse of the person who is participating in the retirement plan.
What is the Purpose of the QDRO?
A qualified domestic relations order is ordered by the court in divorce proceedings in Missouri. The order is based on the agreement between the two parties and the ruling of the divorce court. There are also specific conditions that must be in place.
A QDRO is a written agreement that must be structured in a specific way to be legal and accepted by the court. The specific things that must be in place include:
- What types of benefits the alternate payee is privy to
- What types of benefits will be eligible for the alternate payee
- What type of payment from the payouts will be made (annuity or lump sum payments)
- What happens to the payments if the alternate payee is deceased before the time they are supposed to collect them
- What if the person who is paying the alternate payee dies before the payments are completed
Who Drafts a QDRO?
If you want to have a QDRO written in your Missouri divorce case, then the best place to start is to consult a St. Louis divorce attorney. As it differs from other aspects of dividing divorce assets, if you try to draft an agreement on your own, it likely won’t be accepted legally by the court. A QDRO is hard to get approved without things being very specific, so it is best just to let a St. Louis divorce attorney handle the logistics of the order.
Who Approves the Plan?
The plan is approved once both parties and the court sign it. A copy of the certified agreement is then sent to the plan administrator. Although there might be minor requests or changes made to the agreement, if it is compliant with the terms, then it should be accepted and approved by the divorcing parties.
To divide a retirement plan between two parties seeking a dissolution of marriage, a qualified domestic relations order should be drafted and negotiated by a St. Louis divorce lawyer.