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The role of the QDRO

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2020 | Divorce |

When couples in Florida get divorced, joint assets such as the funds in a retirement account will likely be divided in the final divorce settlement. Funds in an employer retirement plan must typically be divided through what is known as a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). It is important to point out that the order only becomes qualified once a 401(k) or other plan administrator has accepted it.

In some cases, the divorce decree itself may be seen as a QDRO, but typically, it is a separate document that details how an account should be divided. It may be possible for such an order to be filed after the divorce takes place. Furthermore, this document may be filed after an employer retirement plan participant passes away. If an individual gets divorced a second time, another QDRO may be filed with the plan administrator.

However, the terms of the second-order will have no bearing on the terms of the one already on file. In the event that a QDRO is filed after a person starts to receive payments from a retirement plan, it will apply to all future payments. A valid order will contain the name of the participant and the person receiving funds from the account. It must also specify how much an alternate payee is entitled to and how long the order will be in effect.

Generally speaking, both parties to a marriage have an interest in any property that was acquired while they were together. This is often true even if a retirement, bank or another type of account was in one person’s name. An attorney may be able to help a person learn more about how property division laws apply to retirement accounts or other items that a couple owned together.

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