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Common Questions

When should a Notice of Adverse Interest be filed?

A Notice of Adverse Interest provides notice to a plan of a divorce or pending divorce. This notice can be used to trigger a hold on the plan benefits until a QDRO is served on the retirement plan.

If you do not send a Notice of Adverse Interest to the retirement plan, the participant may withdraw the funds even if they are martial property that should be divided between the couple.

How long will it take to get my QDRO?

The time it takes to get a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) can vary significantly depending on various factors, including the complexity of the divorce case, the cooperation of both parties involved, and the efficiency of the court and retirement plan systems. Typically, it takes between four to six months to fully implement a QDRO.

What does it mean to “file and serve” a QDRO?

Filing a QDRO means submitting the QDRO to the appropriate court for approval. This occurs after the parties have signed the QDRO. The court reviews the QDRO to ensure it complies with the pertinent legal requirements. If the QDRO is approved, the court will issue an order approving the division of retirement assets and authorizing the plan administrator to implement the division.

Serving a QDRO means delivering a copy of the approved order to the plan administrator of the retirement account that is being divided. This is a critical step because the plan administrator needs to be aware of the QDRO and implement the division of assets accordingly.

Can a plan administrator reject a QDRO that has been signed by a judge?

Yes, a plan administrator can reject a QDRO that has been signed by a judge. The plan administrator may reject a QDRO for any of the following reasons:

• Procedural Errors

• Non-Qualifying Plan

• Plan Amendment of Termination

• Non-Compliance with Legal Requirements at a federal or state level

• Timing issues

What is the preapproval process for a QDRO?

The preapproval process for a QDRO involves a review of the QDRO by the retirement plan administrator before it is submitted to the court for approval. This step is taken to ensure that the QDRO meets the specific requirements of the retirement plan and complies with the applicable laws and regulations.

How do I know if there is separate property in a retirement account?

Determining whether there is a separate property interest in a retirement account that is being divided in a divorce proceeding can be complex. It requires a thorough examination of the specific circumstances and contributions made to the account. As a rule of thumb, if contributions were made before or after the marriage by either the couple or a sponsoring employer a separate property interest will need to be calculated. Separate property can also be comingled in a retirement account during the marriage through rollovers. Without a separate property calculation a fair division cannot be achieved and one or both parties may receive less than their fair share of the retirement benefits.

Protect Your Share with a Notice of Adverse Interest

A legal document that is used to protect your financial interest in a retirement account. A Notice of Adverse Interest will freeze the plan assets so they cannot be liquidated until the QDRO process is complete. This prevents one spouse from unilaterally withdrawing the community property in the retirement account.


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