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Experienced Family Law Attorney Answers Frequently Asked Questions About QDROs

Chances are that you have never heard of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) before and didn't know you needed one until your divorce process was well underway. When a retirement plan or other benefit plan must be split between divorcing spouses, the plan administrator may require a court order (a QDRO) with specific instructions before the plan administrator will divide the benefits.

The Law Office of Suzanne Hunsinger focuses exclusively on the law surrounding QDROS and drafting QDROS in California divorce situations. Below are some of the questions we frequently encounter in our practice. If you have other questions or have been advised that a QDRO is necessary in your divorce, contact the Law Office of Suzanne Hunsinger for assistance.

Q. I already have an attorney handling my divorce. Do you replace my attorney?

A. No. We do not replace your attorney, but provide specialized legal assistance in a particular legal area - drafting any QDROs required in your divorce.

Q. Do I have to hire an attorney to draft my QDRO?

A. It is not required to have an attorney draft your QDRO. However, the division of benefits affected by a QDRO is part of the division of community property in your divorce. Having an experienced California family lawyer draft your QDRO ensures that your rights to community property and separate property are treated properly. For more information on how an attorney can be of benefit to you in drafting your QDRO, click here.

Q. Do I need a QDRO to divide IRA assets?

A. Not necessarily. Assets in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) can be transferred between spouses without incurring tax liability, so long as the transfer is made in accordance with a written divorce decree or Marital Settlement Agreement. A cash out approach is also sometimes available as a means to divide a deferred compensation account without a QDRO.

Q. Are QDROs requires for Government Plans?

A. The rules governing QDROs do not apply to governmental plans. However, in most cases, some type of court order will be required before these benefits can be divided. While this court order may not be a QDRO in name, it is likely to have many features in common with a QDRO.