A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is a judgment, decree, or order that recognizes the existence of an alternate payee’s right to receive all or a portion of the benefits payable with respect to a participant under a qualified retirement plan. Whether and how to divide a participant’s interest in a retirement plan are often important considerations in separation, divorce and other domestic relations proceedings. A domestic relations order (DRO) specifies the provision of child support, alimony payments, or marital property rights to a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of a participant.
While the division of marital property generally is governed by state domestic relations law, any assignments of retirement interests must also comply with Federal law, namely the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the Code). Under ERISA and the Code, retirement interests may be assigned only if the DRO creating or recognizing an alternate payee’s interest in an individual’s retirement benefits constitutes a QDRO. Consequently, legal counsel is essential for ensuring a DRO satisfies the requirements of a QDRO.
HBL offers legal services for QDROs including:
- Design, drafting and implementation;
- Review of DROs to ensure compliance with all applicable QDRO legal requirements;
- Counsel with respect to the duties of retirement plan administrators in making QDRO determinations; and
- Preparation of QDRO administrative procedures;