What happens to your spouse’s retirement plan after your divorce? Will you still be entitled to split it?
While many people focus on assets like the house, cars, and bank accounts, it’s important not to overlook your long-term future. You may not be able to receive your share of assets, such as savings plans, 401Ks, government pensions, or corporate pensions, with a simple divorce decree. In order to do so, you may also need to execute a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, also known as a QDRO.
What is a QDRO in Florida?
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order from a Florida court or other authority establishes your right to receive payments from your spouse’s retirement account. Without a QDRO, your spouse may receive the entire payout from the retirement plan, and you will have limited options to recover your portion.
Typically, the order is prepared and executed as part of the divorce proceedings, but it can also be a separate decree.
In general, it is best to handle it during the divorce proceedings to ensure you receive the benefits, because if your ex dies before a QDRO is executed, you may lose your portion of the benefit.
A QDRO can include multiple retirement plans but must specify clear details for each plan. To be valid, it has to include:
- Your name and address
- Your spouse’s name and address
- The names of the retirement plans
- The amount of the payment or the equation to use to determine payment
- The quantity of payments or the length of time when payments will be made
How much and for how long you will receive payments will depend on:
- the length of your marriage,
- the amount of retirement that qualifies as marital property (the money earned during the time you were married),
- the type of retirement plan,
- your own contributions, and
- your financial situation (including debts and liabilities).
Many companies have their own sample QDROs. This can be a great starting point, but it is not a neutral document. You want to ensure the terms are drafted to your advantage, so it’s advisable to work with a Florida divorce lawyer. In particular, you want to ensure taxes and other fees are taken into consideration when the Qualified Domestic Relations Order is drafted.
At the Law Office of Dana Pechersky, we have helped many people avoid costly errors and ensure they receive what they’re entitled to, so they can rest assured that they will have a comfortable retirement.