It is easiest to file a QDRO if both parties in the divorce have signed the QDRO approving it. However, there are times when one of the parties (in most cases it’s the participant) refuses to sign the QDRO or cannot be located.
If the judge has already ordered the retirement division in the divorce judgment, some judges will sign the QDRO with only 1 party’s signature without having to return to court.
In most cases, the judge will want you to show several attempts to try to get the participant to sign the QDRO before the judge will sign the QDRO. You will likely have to submit the QDRO to the court based on your local plan rules and the court may require a hearing. You may need extra legal help in getting the QDRO filed. Your local court-based self-help center may be able to help you get the QDRO filed without both parties signing the QDRO.
The QDRO will be implemented by a retirement plan so long as it is signed by a judge and filed with the court. The retirement does not need the parties’ signatures to be implemented, only the judge’s signature.
If you are delayed in getting your QDRO filed, it’s always a good idea to let the plan know the reason for the delay and send a copy of your filed divorce judgment to attempt to place a hold on the retirement account until the QDRO is filed. Most retirement plans will place a temporary hold when provided with this notice.