QDRO (the what and how)
QDRO is the acronym for a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. These types of specialized Orders are permissive under Federal Statute to allow for the division of a retirement asset, like a pension or a 401(k) account. QDROs allow for a division of retirement assets where neither the spouse receiving funds from a 401(k) nor the spouse giving up the funds will be taxed or penalized by the IRS for the distribution. However, there are very strict rules how a QDRO must be prepared and completed by the Court.
Because of all the rules in place how a QDRO must be prepared, this legal procedure is often times painfully slow to complete. Also, because most people don't know how it all works, some lawyers only focus their practices on QDRO preparation, and they charge steep rates for otherwise and long (but simple) process. The reality is that despite QDROs taking some time to complete, the process can be automated and made economical for most clientele.
If you've been quoted $2,000 or more by a QDRO lawyer, then you've stumbled on the wrong person to get your QDRO done. These lawyers often fill the process with meaningless busy work (billable hours) by requiring an initial meeting of all the parties involved (and their lawyers), when in actuality, all the QDRO lawyer needs is the Decree language to prepare the QDRO. In contrast, my office prepares and submits QDROs for flat fee of $1,500 (for a typical 401(k) or pension).
Once you QDRO has been prepared and approved by the Plan Administrator of the retirement account, the flat fee also covers the cost of preparing a motion and submission to the Court for it's entry by the Judge in your Divorce. We then take your QDRO and serve it on teh Plan Administrator so that you can get your money. Essentially your flat fee, covers all the work to take your QDRO and complete the process from beginning to end.
If your divorce decree provides for a division of a retirement asset, 401(k), 403(b), or IRA, do not hesitate to call our office to get the process started to prepare and complete your QDRO.