Details about QDRO for Lawyers

Details about QDRO for Plan Administrators


QDRO Preparation

Lawrence & Pearson Associates prepares QDROs and other types of domestic relations orders that may have different names and meanings such as DRO or QCO. We prepare the domestic relations orders for all types of plans and arrangements, including:

  • Defined Contribution Plans - 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), 401(a), profit sharing, money purchase, ESOP, etc.
  • Defined Benefit Plans - Pension plan, cash balance, 412(i), etc.
  • Military Plans - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, etc.
  • Federal Government Plans - Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), CSRS, FERS, Railroad, etc.
  • State, City and County Plans - Public Employee, Teacher and University Plans
  • Non-Qualified Plans - stock purchase, options, SERP, top-hat, excess benefit, etc.
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) – traditional IRA, Roth, SEP, SARSEP, SIMPLE, etc.

For each retirement plan that is being divided between spouse or former spouses in accordance with a divorce decree or settlement agreement, Lawrence & Pearson Associates will (as needed):

  • Review final divorce decree for language about the division of retirement plan assets
  • Research applicable retirement plan benefits, rights and features
  • Draft QDRO in accordance with the divorce decree
  • Forward QDRO in draft form to the retirement plan administrator
  • Negotiate changes in the draft QDRO with plan administrator
  • Distribute QDRO for revisions, comments, and signatures by the spouses or former spouses and their attorneys
  • Respond to any questions or concerns about the QDRO from the spouses or former spouses and their attorneys
  • Assist in filing the QDRO in the court where the divorce occurred
  • Obtain court certified copies of the QDRO signed by the judge
  • Forward a court certified copy of the QDRO to the retirement plan administrator for final review
  • Obtain a written determination from the plan administrator that the QDRO satisfies applicable legal requirements
  • Review plan administrator’s written determination for consistency with the terms of the QDRO
  • Notify spouses or former spouses and their attorneys that the QDRO has been accepted by the retirement plan administrator

QDRO Process

(what we need & what you should expect)

  • Obtain Information: Start the QDRO process by:
  • Completing and returning our QDRO Checklist
  • Providing a copy of the Divorce Decree or Separation Agreement
  • Providing plan information such as the Summary Plan Description (SPD) or other plan contact information
  • Drafting and Initial QDRO Approval: Upon receiving all required information, we will draft the QDRO. The initial draft of the QDRO will be sent to both parties (spouses/former spouses) and/or their attorneys for review and approval. Please contact us to discuss if there are any questions, concerns or corrections. Do not sign the QDRO at this point.
  •  Plan Administrator Draft Approval: The QDRO draft will be sent to the retirement plan for approval. If changes are requested by the Plan, both parties and/or their attorneys along with Lawrence & Pearson Associates will be notified. Changes in the QDRO requested by the plan are quite common. Once the changes have been made, the QDRO will be sent back to both parties and/or their attorneys for approval.
  • Judge's Signature: Once the Plan approves the QDRO in draft form, we will send you a corrected copy, which should be signed by both parties and/or their attorneys. The QDRO is then filed in the court where the divorce occurred to be signed by the judge.
  • Certified QDRO Copy: After the QDRO is signed by the judge, a certified copy needs to be obtained. The certified copy is one which has the original signature(s) and the seal of the clerk of the Court. The certified copy is then sent to the plan for final approval, acceptance and distribution. We will keep you apprised of any additional paperwork which may be required by the plan. Copies of the signed QDRO will also be sent to both parties and/or their attorneys.

Professional QDRO Services

  • Preparation of QDROs
  • Review of opposing counsel's draft QDROs
  • Military, Civil Service Plans
  • State Government Orders Teacher, Police and more
  • Non-qualified deferred compensation plans
  • Preparation of Qualified Medical Child Support Orders
  • Aid in preparing Separation Agreement language
  • QDRO strategies
  • Expert testimony on all QDRO and ERISA issues
  • Audit old QDRO files

or use our Present Value Services

    *   Traditional actuarial present value reports
    *   Expert testimony in supporting present value analysis
    *   Guidance on choosing offsetting assets versus a QDRO
    *   Present value of joint and survivor benefits
    *   Present value of retiree health care benefits
    *   Review opposing counsel's present values & briefs
    *   Social Security present value calculations and offsets


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