FAQ: Qualified Domestic Relations Order

Retirement benefits could be the focus of a QDRO if you have ever been married, have children or anyone else that depends on you for care. If you are planning a retirement package, or presently have one in place, here are a few essential facts about QDROs that are important to know.

What Does QDRO Mean?

QDRO is the abbreviated, legal term for a qualified domestic relations order.

What Does a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) Do?

A qualified domestic relations order establishes the legal right of an alternate payee to receive a portion of the primary recipient’s retirement benefits. In order for such an order to be enforceable, it must be ordered or approved by the court. A government agency may also issue this type of order, in lieu of a court of law, which would then uphold the issued judgment as legally enforceable.

All qualified domestic relations orders fall under the umbrella of Florida domestic relations law, as well as the part of these laws that relate to community property. In fact, it is not unusual for there to be an inclusive provision of a qualified domestic relations order written into a decree of divorce. Also, a certain court-issued order, such as child support or alimony, may actually serve as a qualified domestic relations order itself.

Who Can Be an Alternate Payee?

Alternate payees are individuals with direct (and typically familial) ties to the original payee. Alternate payees can include:

  • Current or former spouses
  • Children
  • Any person considered a legal dependent of the original participant.

Are My Retirement Benefits Subject to a QDRO?

It depends on what types of debt you may owe. Generally, if there are court-ordered payments on file with the state, such as child support or alimony, a qualified domestic relations order may be used to satisfy any arrearages. In cases of divorce, retirement benefits may only be subject to a qualified domestic relations order if specifically included within the terms of a marital division agreement or judgment. However, every situation is different and, therefore, legal consult is suggested.

For more information about how a qualified domestic relations order may affect your retirement, contact us as soon as possible. You deserve what you’ve earned – make sure you protect it.

Bounce Back: Tips to help men navigate family law

Written by Kenny Leigh
All cases cited in this book are Florida cases and should not be considered advice for any other state.

Divorce can be horrible. For most people, it’s the most stressful event in their lives —more stressful than the death of a family member. And not only is the experience itself often loathsome, but the consequences of terminating a marriage can be devastating. Divorce has permanently damaged the careers, net worth and valued relationships of countless men. If you are looking at this book, you are likely about to enter the most trying and difficult phase of your life. And if your case is not handled properly, you’ve got a lot to lose.