Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

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Definition of 'Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)'

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a court order that divides retirement benefits between spouses or former spouses. It is important to note that a QDRO is not the same as a divorce decree. A divorce decree simply dissolves the marriage, while a QDRO specifies how the retirement benefits will be divided.

There are a few key requirements that must be met in order for a QDRO to be considered valid. First, the order must be in writing and signed by the judge. Second, the order must specify the name of the plan participant, the name of the alternate payee (the person who will receive the retirement benefits), and the amount of benefits that will be transferred. Third, the order must be made pursuant to a divorce or legal separation agreement.

Once a QDRO is in place, the plan administrator is required to divide the retirement benefits according to the terms of the order. The plan administrator is also responsible for sending the alternate payee periodic payments of the retirement benefits.

There are a few advantages to using a QDRO to divide retirement benefits. First, a QDRO is a court order, which means that it is enforceable by the courts. Second, a QDRO provides certainty and clarity about how the retirement benefits will be divided. Third, a QDRO can help to avoid potential conflicts between the parties in the future.

If you are considering using a QDRO to divide your retirement benefits, it is important to speak to an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can help you to understand the requirements of a QDRO and to draft an order that meets your specific needs.

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

* [The Department of Labor's website on QDROs](https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/our-divisions/division-of-plan-assistance/resource-center/publications/qdros)
* [The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers' website on QDROs](https://www.aaml.org/for-the-public/qdros)
* [The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence's website on QDROs](https://www.nrcdv.org/qdros)

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