Qualified Domestic Relationship Orders
Serving Clients Throughout the State of Arizona
We handle all forms of QDROs — 401ks and Pensions. We pride ourselves on offering excellent service at an affordable price.
What is a QDRO?
A QDRO (or Qualified Domestic Relations Order) is an order required by your plan administrator to split up your ERISA qualified account. This is a short definition, but contains a lot of information. You probably have some questions, such as “What is a plan administrator?” and “What is ERISA?” Your plan administrator is the person/company in charge of your retirement account. It is their duty to make sure that your money in your retirement account is secure and not used for improper uses that would then make it taxable. ERISA is the law that allows your retirement account to be tax free until you retire.
All of this means that you need a QDRO to tell the plan administrator that it is appropriate to divide up your 401k, pension or other ERISA qualified account with your former spouse, and to maintain a tax exempt status on those funds. The plan administrator would be liable if they allowed this to happen without a QDRO. This is why you need a QDRO.
How Do We Do Your QDRO?
Generally speaking, it’s our preference to assist your family law attorney with drafting the language in the decree for your QDRO. This is because we often see vague language that requires your family law attorney to relitigate the decree in order to complete a proper QDRO. We do work with people that are post decree, and doing their own divorces as well. Just remember that a QDRO can only do what the decree says, so a badly drafted decree prevents a QDRO from taking effect.
Because of this we focus on using one of our core tenets, Collaboration, to complete your QDRO in the most efficient manner possible. We collaborate with your attorney, you and your opposing party, in order to, draft a decree and a QDRO that reflects your desired outcome.
We have experience drafting all types of QDROs for our clients. This includes QDROs for 401ks, the Arizona State Retirement System, the Military, and, also, Pensions.
Most QDROs are 401k QDROs. These QDROs are generally fairly easy to divide as the judge and the divorce decree state specifically how the QDRO will be split.
This split is typically a percentage of the QDRO or even the full amount of one. Any change in ownership of a 401k requires a QDRO to protect the Beneficiary and the Plan Holder from adverse tax consequences.
We generally charge a flat fee for this type of QDRO as it is fairly straight forward, and the amount of work is well known to us. In this way we keep our costs to you down.
However, many investment companies that administer QDROs (Fidelity being one of the largest) requires significant payments to be made to them in order to process a QDRO. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more common. Sometimes, the cost of the processing of the QDRO may cost more than the cost of the QDRO itself. There is little we can do about this situation.
This is the second most common type of QDRO we see in our practice. It is the Arizona State Retirement System QDRO.
The ASRS has its own QDRO form. However, this form is very confusing and we try to avoid it as much as possible. Our goal is to provide you with a clear and concise QDRO so that everyone knows what is happening under a variety of circumstances.
Even though this is, technically, a pension QDRO, we still charge a flat fee for this type of QDRO as it is well known to us.
We can help you with your military QDRO.
The military QDRO is a specific type of QDRO due to the unique situation that those serving in the military face. It has its own specific format and requirements. Due to this, you need to have some one experienced and skilled in this type of matter.
We can help you with your QDRO and get it done properly.
QDROs for pensions are probably the most difficult QDROs to do. Every specific pension has its own rules and requirements. It involves a lot of back and forth with the administrator of the pension. There may even need to be experts hired on to help us draft the QDRO with the appropriate provisions.
Due to the highly complex nature of QDROs for pensions, we typically require a $2500 retainer and bill by the hour for this type of QDRO.
Technology as an Asset
In order to achieve excellent service at this affordable price, we like to use as much technology as possible. We do not believe that there is any reason for our clients to leave the comfort of their own home with the technology that we have available in our hands.
To this end, we offer many distinct ways to gather information to complete your QDRO. This includes, the internet, e-mail, telephone, and even old-fashioned mail.
Don’t worry though, your case will be handled by one of our excellent lawyers from start to finish and you will, most likely, be working closely with either Scott or Glenn.
Our QDRO Experience
Our firm has handled dozens of QDROs. We have the experience and the knowledge to assist you in your case and make it go as smoothly as possible.
We have experience with military QDROs, ASRS QDROs, and typical 401Ks.
What to Expect
During the initial consultation we will get your email address and send you a fee agreement, an online payment link and a questionnaire that you need to fill out.
Once the fee agreement, questionnaire and payment are sent, we will then send a letter to the plan administrator instructing them as required by your personal situation. After that, it typically takes approximately 6 months to get your QDRO done from start to finish.
Thank you for taking the time to review our QDRO offering. We hope that we can help you out with whichever type of QDRO you may need drafted. Please call us at the number above or schedule a fee consultation. Thanks.