Why do I need a QDRO?

When you get a divorce, the only way to get money paid from one spouse’s retirement account to the other spouse is with a QDRO.

A QDRO (sounds like ‘Quad-ro’) is a court order required to divide retirement accounts. A QDRO allows for payment to the other spouse for marital or community property and also to collect alimony or child support. You need a domestic relations order to divide all types of retirement plans whether from a private company or a public entity.

"The bottom line is for a spouse awarded a community or marital property interest in a retirement account, that plan will not divide the benefit without a QDRO. It does not matter if the divorce decree awards the marital interest. Retirement plans cannot pay the funds to the nonparticipant unless the court order is a QDRO. "

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