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QDRO and Divorce Decree

Hi all, I'm new here and have a procedural question I'm hoping someone can help me with


I just recently received my certified divorce decree from the court (woo hoo!) in New York.  But I'm unsure of how the QDRO ties in.  My lawyer is downright horrible and can't be relied on for anything so he's been no help with this issue.  I spoke to his office today and asked now since my divorce has been certified and recorded how long will it be until I receive my benefits from the QDRO.  I was told that now that everything is finalized the QDRO paperwork (that was prepared 6 months ago) will now be submitted to the court along with my certified divorce paperwork for judges signature and then her 401k provider will be served with the paperwork.  I commented that shouldn't that paperwork already have been submitted to the court so the judge can sign off on the divorce and then the QDRO at the same time so I don't have to wait an additional 3-6 months when both sets of papers are going to the same clerk/judge.  The only response was, that wasn't done.


My question is, is this the way the process works or is the QDRO paperwork usually submitted at the same time as the divorce papers so they are both approved at the same time?  I'd like to know before I raise holy hell and ask to speak to the firm's partners to complain.  Can someone shed any light on this?




by miketoast   4 Posts 
Posted on 8/2/2012 4:12 PM
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Tags: qdro

Answers for "QDRO and Divorce Decree"  (14) (You must be logged in to answer)

Thanks guys!

It was my understanding that both the divorce and QDRO paperwork can be submitted to the court at the same time since plan approval was previously secured.  The judge signs off on the Divorce and then the QDRO at the same time

Dactyl, I can use that money since her plan allows for a lump sump distribution without the 10% additional penalty for early withdrawl

In addition, my lawyer has been garbage and I've had to go to the firm's partners about him before, so I was wondering if his delay in filing was his form of retribution since he knows my financial status

Thanks again

by miketoast   4 Posts
Posted on 8/6/2012 9:50 AM

Shuni Mudra is a meditative hand position one uses when one wants patience, discernment, or the courage to do what needs to be done (even if it is waiting patiently for the wheels to turn).

We're here for you.
by NotJulieG   3319 Posts
Posted on 8/3/2012 7:29 PM

Julie, I don't know what you are doing with your middle finger, I do something entirely different when I am angry... Tweet, tweet!
by JustMe4Now   2231 Posts
Posted on 8/3/2012 7:21 PM

I hear your frustration - and I'll raise you a bit - today's phone call to my attorney confirmed my hunch that ex, rechristened Godot years ago, has called the QDRO's figures into question. They're responding to it by having another team in the firm work on it. I'd like to give someone a piece of my mind, but they wouldn't know what to do with it. Besides, I know that the energy I'd use to pitch that fit isn't going to change anything and sure as heck is better spent elsewhere.

[assuming lotus position, breathing diaphragmatically, hands in Shuni Mudra, middle finger and thumb of each hand making a circle, palms up.]

We're here for you.
by NotJulieG   3319 Posts
Posted on 8/3/2012 7:17 PM

Julie is correct - the divorce has to be entered first - then the qdro - because it can't move forward until it is made absolutely certain that the divorce is, indeed, a done deal. 

Your's is progressing exactly how it is supposed to be - regardless of if you like it or not.
by spaznskitz   11339 Posts
Posted on 8/3/2012 6:44 PM

Calm down!  You can't spend that money anyway!  Sheesh!  I realize that you are anxious, but, my goodness, chill, will ya?  Just because it was prepared at the same time doesn't mean it gets filed at the same time.  As Julie said, the divorce decree has to filed with the court before the QDRO paperwork can be submitted.  Sounds like that's exactly what is happening.  When it takes 3 YEARS to get it done, THEN you have an issue.
by Dactyl   5834 Posts
Posted on 8/3/2012 9:17 AM

Just to follow up, the paperwork for the QDRO was prepared and approved in conjunction with the negotiated divorce settlement so everything was in place, all that was needed is the that the divorce decree needed to be signed and filed by the clerk/judge.  I feel that all of the completed paperwork, including the finished QDRO, should have been submitted to the clerk at the same time so the judge could sign off on all of the papers at the same time, completing everything in a few strokes of the pen, rather than wait until the divorce was signed before submitting the QDRO once again to the clerk's office.  Now it's going to take 3-6 months for the judge to approve it and causing more delays
by miketoast   4 Posts
Posted on 8/3/2012 8:42 AM

Your divorce decree is required to start the QDRO process. In addition to that, whoever prepares the QDRO needs statements from every retirement account on the date that is specified in the decree for those assets to be split. Sometimes it's the filing date, sometimes it's the date the divorce is final, in our case, it was the first day of the month I moved out, about a year and a half before the divorce was filed. 

Ex and I had an e mail exchange and a phone call in which we decided to send copies of statements to the QDRO preparers ourselves rather than sending them through the attorneys. The QDRO firm didn't like that, so I suggested that we send a set to them and to each of our attorneys with cover letters explaining what we were doing. That was acceptable, so we spent a few hours evening in my home office typing, copying and collating. I mailed the documents the next day. 

The hard, and time consuming, part, as I understand it, is making sure that the language in the QDRO matches the language of the retirement plans and follows the rules of those plans. 

About three months later, the QDRO firm had preliminary numbers. One of ex's statements was dated the end of the previous month instead of the first of the month we agreed to split the assets. We had to sign off on that being okay with both of us and that we wouldn't go back to the court or the QDRO firm to fix it later. Yes, I did my best "grrl from the hood" head wagging  - like it matters - but it does. 

It's been about six weeks since that. I have to get in touch with my attorney about something else tomorrow, and I'll add an inquiry about QDRO progress. The other matter's going to take all of five minutes on the phone with him - I'm going to be billed for fifteen - why not get my money's worth?

We're here for you.
by NotJulieG   3319 Posts
Posted on 8/2/2012 10:02 PM

Oh. Thanks. I can sleep now because I learned something new today!
by JustMe4Now   2231 Posts
Posted on 8/2/2012 9:14 PM

It givesyou half his retirement account.  You can then withdraw without paying the penalty, although you might still havbe to pay the taxes.
by Iam   7316 Posts
Posted on 8/2/2012 9:10 PM

Okay, Iam.... Pretend that I am really low in the IQ scale... English please. What is it for? What does it do? Thanks.
I really am going to sign up for that course. Next one starts in November! Need me some financial literacy.
by JustMe4Now   2231 Posts
Posted on 8/2/2012 9:07 PM

A "qualified domestic relation order" (QDRO) is a domestic relations order that creates or recognizes the existence of an alternate payee's right to receive, or assigns to an alternate payee the right to receive, all or a portion of the benefits payable with respect to a participant under a retirement plan, and that includes certain information and meets certain other requirements.
by Iam   7316 Posts
Posted on 8/2/2012 7:45 PM

Just because I like to learn new things, and I am not afraid to ask:
What in the heck is a QDRO??
by JustMe4Now   2231 Posts
Posted on 8/2/2012 7:28 PM

QDRO's are something only a QDRO specialist should touch.  It can be years for the process to be completed, especially if it's not done right the first time.  Mine was written up by the ex's attorney, then reviewed by an expert hired by my attorney.  It was done right the first time and took 6 to 9 months after the divorce was final.
by Iam   7316 Posts
Posted on 8/2/2012 6:34 PM

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