Retirement plans are a key part of your divorce settlement but they are an issue for either party. Retirement plans can be divided under the typical division of property in a divorce, if a judge sees fit to do so. In order for the division of retirement plan assets set forth by a judge in a divorce decree to become active and valid a must-be set up in what’s known as a qualified domestic relations order.
The qualified domestic relations order has to be set up to benefit an alternate payee and a new proposal from the Department of Labor could open up new opportunities for those who are not presently covered under an employer retirement plan.
The former director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has deemed that the most significant retirement security staff in the last 60 years. States would be exempt from ERISA regulations and could create auto-deduction state retirement plans, so long as these plans are voluntary and allow opt-outs. Very much like college savings plans, either third party administrators or states would act as fiduciaries with no limit on the amount of plan for to accumulate. If you have questions about the current division of retirement plans that could impact your divorce, it is important that you consult with not only a family law attorney but also a qualified domestic relations orders expert.
Your family law attorney will likely have some understanding of the issues at play, but not a comprehensive overview of the main concerns in your case. This is why you need someone who has expertise in reviewing QDROs specifically. This can save you time and frustration by hiring the right person the first time.
A specialist in the field of qualified domestic relations orders can review an existing order before it is sent to a plan administrator to determine where there are weaknesses or areas that could be clarified. Identifying these challenges early could lead to a higher success rate for the plan being accepted by the plan administrator and it can also make your life easier by pointing out problems or flaws that could be easily fixed with new wording or better determinations. It is essential that you consult with someone who has experience in the field of qualified domestic relations orders because what seems like small mistakes now could prove out to be big problems down the road. Find someone who has analyzed documents like this before to have your qualified domestic relations order evaluated before it is sent on to the plan administrator and then the judge.