Qualified Domestic Relationship Orders (QDRO)

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A Qualified Domestic Relations Order or “QDRO” is a court order which assigns all or part of one spouse’s (or former spouse’s) interest in a pension, 401(k) or other qualified plan to another spouse or former spouse. The transfer can be to satisfy an obligation as a transfer of martial property, alimony, or child support.

Qualified Domestic Relationship Orders (QDROs)

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For a domestic relations order to Qualify as a QDRO under ERISA it must contain the following information:

  • The name and last known mailing address of the participant and each alternate payee
  • The name of each plan to which the order applies
  • The dollar amount or percentage (or the method of determining the amount or percentage) of the benefit to be paid to the alternate payee
  • The number of payments or time period to which the order applies

The administrator of the retirement plan is the individual (or entity) initially responsible for determining whether a domestic relations order is a QDRO. Plan administrators are required to follow the plan’s procedures for determining whether the QDRO qualifies. The administrator must also furnish notice to spouse and former spouse of the receipt of a domestic relations order and to furnish a copy of the plan’s procedures for determining the qualified status or such orders.

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