When couples divorce after a long marriage, the court may need to address the division of retirement benefits. In today’s society, often both parties accumulate retirement benefits if they work. As part of the division of property, the court may require one or both parties to pay a portion of the money they accumulate for retirement during the marriage to the other spouse. The other spouse can only collect the money if the court issues a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) for that particular plan. Keep in mind, each retirement account you are dividing will require it’s own separate QDRO. The good news is that you can use an online QDRO preparation service for this process. The bad news is that most online QDRO services only prepare the forms. In other words, they do not provide the additional services you will require to complete the QDRO process for which you are left on your own to stumble through. Read on to learn how the online QDRO preparation service of A People’s Choice is different than most others.
QDRO Laws and Requirements
According to federal law, the only person who can receive payments from a retirement account is the Participant, that is, the employee who accumulated the money in the account. The only exception to this rule is if a court issues a QDRO designating another person, usually the participant’s former spouse, as the “Alternate Payee.” The divorce judgment may require the Participant to pay some or all of the money from the retirement account to the Alternate Payee. There are many different online QDRO resources available to learn more about the QDRO process.
My Judgment Divides Retirement – Why do I need a QDRO?
People are often confused between the Judgment and the QDRO. The Judgment will state the Court’s order regarding the couple’s division of retirement accounts. For example, the Judgment may state the Alternate Payee is to receive a specific sum from the Participant’s retirement account. Alternatively, the Judgment may award the Alternate Payee a portion of the account based on the Time-Rule factor. No matter how the Judgment identifies retirement division, the Judgment itself does not divide the retirement plan. The actual division of the retirement account is only complete once a QDRO has been prepared, approved by the Plan Administrator, signed by the parties, signed by the Judge, filed in the court case and presented to the Plan Administrator in proper form.
QDROs vary in the level of detail in which they specify how much the former spouse should get from the retirement account. As mentioned above, it might be a specific percentage or they might include a formula by which the administrators of the retirement account should calculate the alternate payee’s portion. They might also specify whether the former spouse should get the money as a lump sum or in monthly or annual installments. Usually, the calculation of the QDRO amount is associated with a specific date in time such as the date of separation.
Be Proactive Completing Your QDRO
If the division of retirement benefits is part of your divorce agreement, the court does not issue a QDRO automatically. It is the responsibility of the Participant to apply for the QDRO after the court enters the Judgment. Your divorce lawyer might even consider his or her job finished after you get your divorce judgment and walk away without applying for your QDRO. Remember, you do not need your divorce lawyer’s help to apply for an online QDRO; in fact, hiring a lawyer to help you request a QDRO is an unnecessary expense. The more affordable option is to hire a registered legal document assistant to prepare the online QDRO forms for you. Then you can have your QDRO within four months, sometimes as little as two months.
Online QDRO Preparation with A People’s Choice
The online QDRO application might look as difficult as filling out your own tax forms, but a registered legal document assistant can prepare a flawless QDRO to help you move on financially after your divorce. It is important to realize that not all online QDRO preparation services are the same. In fact, most online QDRO services only prepare the QDRO document. On the contrary, A People’s Choice is a full-service online QDRO preparation and legal document assistant service.
At A People’s Choice we:
- prepare the QDRO
- interface with the Plan Administrator
- facilitate the parties signing the QDRO
- file the QDRO
- make sure the Court enters the QDRO Order, and lastly
- confirm the Plan Administrator has everything they need to complete the QDRO division.
Don’t settle for just any online QDRO preparation service. Contact A People’s Choice for full-service QDRO help. Call us today at 800-747-2870.
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