QDRO Process From Start to Finish

The Qualified Domestic Relations Order process can be somewhat complex and confusing to most divorcing couples. At A People’s Choice, we can help you obtain a QDRO for the division of a retirement/pension plan based on the terms of your divorce decree.  We are often asked to explain to clients the QDRO process from start to finish. Read on to learn more about the steps in the QDRO process and how we can help you.

What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a judicial order entered as part of a property division in a divorce or legal separation. The QDRO is the legal process that divides a retirement/pension plan. The QDRO formally 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.

Private pensions and benefit plans such as 401(k), 403(b), and 457 may be divided by a QDRO. In addition, federal and state civil service plans and IRAs may also be divided by a QDRO.

The following steps in the QDRO process outline the QDRO process from start to finish and will help you understand what needs to be done to effectively divide the community property interest in a retirement plan after a divorce.

Steps of  the QDRO Process From Start to Finish

Step 1- Gather Information

To begin the QDRO process, you will need to gather information such as the Plan name and Plan Administrator pertaining to the specific benefits that need to be divided. Your divorce decree must be completed to determine the amount of the retirement or pension Plan to be divided. If a Judgment has not been entered in your divorce proceedings, you will need to wait until a Judgment has been entered.

To prepare the QDRO, you will need to get information about your former spouse and your marriage. This information includes your spouse’s name, current address, social security number, date of marriage, date of separation and date of final Judgment of divorce. You will also need to know the exact name of the retirement plan and the name and address of the Plan Administrator. This information can usually be obtained from the employer of the participant spouse. Obtain the Summary Plan Description and QDRO Procedures from the Plan Administrator. The Plan Administrator will usually have a package of information available that outlines their QDRO policies and procedures. Our glossary of QDRO terms will help you understand some of the unique words that you will need to understand as you go through this process. If the Plan Administrator provides you with their plan package, it is important that you provide this package to the legal professional who is assisting you in drafting the QDRO.

Step 2 – Draft the QDRO

Once you obtain the information above, draft your QDRO. The QDRO is drafted as a stipulated order assuming both parties have agreed to the manner in which the retirement/pension will be divided. It should be drafted in compliance with the QDRO procedures received from the Plan Administrator. A legal professional such as A People’s Choice will be able to help in the drafting of the QDRO to meet the Plan’s criteria. Contact us for more information.

Step 3 – Obtain Spousal Approval

Once you have drafted the QDRO, ask for your former spouse’s approval of the drafted document. So long as the QDRO reflects the underlying provisions of the divorce decree, the former spouse, or their attorney, should provide his/her approval. This step is optional and may be avoided in the event the other party acts irrational. The QDRO does not need to be signed at this point.

Step 4- Obtain Plan Administrator Approval

Next, a copy of the QDRO is sent to the Plan Administrator for approval. The Plan Administrator may request changes to be made, which is quite common. Military and federal civil service pensions are not pre-approved by the Plan Administrator. Having your QDRO pre-approved can reassure that it will be approved once the judge authorizes the order.

Step 5 – Have All Parties Sign the QDRO

After the Plan Administrator has pre-approved the QDRO, the document can be signed by both parties. Some Plans require the Plan Administrator to also sign the final QDRO. Check with the Plan Administrator to determine the requirements of the Plan.

Sometimes a situation may arise where a spouse refuses to sign the QDRO. If this happens, don’t panic. It is possible to file a motion with the court requesting an order for the Court Clerk to sign on behalf of the other party. Contact A People’s Choice if your spouse is refusing to sign a Qualified Domestic Relations Order that has been prepared according to your Judgment of Dissolution.

Step 6 – Obtain Judge Approval of the QDRO

Once the Plan Administrator pre-approves your plan and all parties have signed the QDRO, the original document can be submitted to the court for the Judge’s approval. The QDRO will need to be filed in the court that has jurisdiction over the divorce. The judge will review and sign the order and the Court Clerk will file and enter it in the court records.

Step 7 – Send Certified Copy of QDRO to Plan Administrator

A certified copy of the QDRO is then distributed to the Plan Administrator. There may be other documentation the Plan requires in order to divide the Plan. This might include a supplement that is not filed with the court containing personal information of both parties. The Plan Administrator will review the signed QDRO and process it rather quickly if pre-approval was obtained.  Once the retirement account has been divided, the Plan Administrator will set up a separate account for the Alternate Payee with their awarded portion of the retirement account.

What if a party needs the cash now? Rather than rolling the fund over, if one party decides to take a cash distribution from their former spouse’s Plan, the Plan is required to withhold 20% of the awarded amount for Federal income taxes. The gross amount that party receives will be treated as income; however, they will be able to claim the amount which the Plan withholds on their Federal income tax return when they file taxes the following year.

We hope this information has explained the QDRO process from start to finish in an easy-to-understand manner. Be aware that the QDRO process usually takes 2-3 months to complete.  Contact A People’s Choice for more information about the steps in the QDRO process and how we can help you draft a QDRO.

Get help with your Legal documents today!

A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your legal documents instead of an expensive attorney!


We would love to know your thoughts on this article. Connect with us over on Google+ or Twitter and join the conversation

By |2018-01-18T15:47:01-07:00March 21st, 2016|Family Law|76 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.


  1. LUCY March 7, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    HI Sandy -I am emailing to ask how back rears are distributed in a divorce . We are in the process of doing QDRO and my ex will owe me alot of money in back rears for his pension and variable supplement as per the JOD. Once QDRO is final and his pension is garnished how do they pay out back rears ? Will back rears also be garnished from his check and how is this done?

    • Sandy McCarthy March 8, 2019 at 6:30 am

      Not sure is arrears are referring to support? If so, that is usually a separate process. A QDRO simply divides the retirement. If you are talking about missed retirement payments because you did not timely process the QDRO, you may have missed out. Talk to the Plan Administrator or an attorney.

  2. dennis February 26, 2019 at 6:16 am

    Hello, I have been divorces for 6 months. It was a uncontested divorce , I want to give my wife 50% of my only IRA that I have. I didn’t know all this was involved. Thought I could contact Fidelity where my IRA is and just fill out forms and me and her sign them. They so they need a legal document to release and roll money over into her IRA with Them. Then I went searching the universe for this QDRO form, thinking I could get one from the court or online download and she and I could sign it fill it out and submit it to the court. ! Seems I need a service like yours to do this. So I cannot do this myself ??? If not I will call your service.. you are the first service that explained this process well

    We did our divorce ourself using one of the popular online divorce sites, that went well.

    SO, can I do this myself ??? or not

    Please help ! I am frustrated on how to get this done ….

    Thank You !!!!!!

    • Sandy McCarthy February 26, 2019 at 6:42 am

      Hi Dennis. We would be happy to help you with the QDRO process. Since every QDRO is uniquely different, it would probably be difficult to try and do this on your own without some sort of professional help. Just give our office a call at 800-747-2780. Our fee is $499.

  3. Nicole February 5, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Sandy,

    I have a completed DQRO signed by a judge and all parties. The company that completed the QDRO (great service) said they will charge me an additional $100 to mail the QDRO. I will gladly mail it however, I don’t know the address and they will not tell me. Any additional questions to the QDRO company or my attorney will cost $100 just to get an address. The QDRO is for FERS for a Federal Government retirement. Where can I find the address to mail my QDRO.

    • Sandy McCarthy February 7, 2019 at 6:20 am

      This info is usually in the QDRO document itself.

  4. mj January 31, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    which party is supposed winitiate the quadro when it was ordered but no party was named

    • Sandy McCarthy February 2, 2019 at 7:12 pm

      Either party can start the QDRO process.

  5. Justin January 31, 2019 at 9:27 am

    My Fiance’s QDRO was just approved by the court. What are the next steps that she should take? Is she eligible to simply receive a cash payout? Is there a form of some sort that she needs to fill out in order to actually receive payment from the 401K that is to be divided?

    • Sandy McCarthy February 2, 2019 at 7:14 pm

      Check with the plan. as cash out will surely result in a taxable event against your fiancé.

  6. Jewel January 30, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    My wife surved me divorce papers and wants to keep the ring but wants to split all of her debt so I’m left with nothing but owing her about $5k in credit card debt , so I want to split her 401k but don’t know how to start that process if she won’t give me all the info about it because she doesn’t want me to do that obviously.. and I’m in Arizona where it’s a community property state ..

    • Sandy McCarthy February 2, 2019 at 7:15 pm

      Talk to an Arizona attorney if that is where your case is filed.

  7. Donna November 15, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    My fiance is pre-planning for retirement through PERS. He went today to discuss the amount he would receive when he retires. He has been divorced for 12 years and he has a QDRO .He was told that his ex will get a set percentage of his CURRENT gross income! The QDRO was done by a paralegal. He thought that the amount she would get would be based off his gross pay at time of divorce. How does he go about finding out if something is wrong with the way it was done?

    • Sandy McCarthy December 1, 2018 at 3:31 am

      The QDRO should have been prepared according to the terms of the judgment of divorce. He could take a copy of the judgment and a copy of the QDRO to an attorney and have them review it, but it may be too late to make any changes on it.

  8. James McCann October 19, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    I’m trying to get pension info as to when I can collect and amounts early v full retirement & with QDROS in effect, contacted said company was told back in March to contact 3rd party company to research QDROS, that’s all be done. 3rd party co. says research has been done contact your Co.
    To make long story short ex-wife & I remarried years ago all marriage certificates and legal papers were submitted to 3rd party, My co. Dragging its feet, how do I move forward & have QDROS settled?

    • Sandy McCarthy October 21, 2018 at 9:26 am

      Hi James – Once the QDROs have been done and submitted to the Plan that is all that should be required. I am not sure what you nmean when you say documents were submitted to “third party.”

  9. Johna October 3, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Hi Sandy-

    We are in the process of divorce and I am giving my ex 1/2 of my 401k through a QDRO. He will be taking it as a lump sum. Is there any restriction he has with the money. We are amicable and he is planning on paying off most of my debt. I just want to make sure that is legal

    • Sandy McCarthy October 4, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      There may be tax issues if a lump sum withdrawal is made. Talk with your accountant.

  10. Jane September 20, 2018 at 6:27 am

    An employee of the company I work for provided me with a copy of a QDRO signed by a judge. The QDRO was reviewed at the draft stage. Can I begin the process of complying with the QDRO immediately, or do I need to wait to receive something directly from the court?

    • Sandy McCarthy September 20, 2018 at 8:10 pm

      QDROs are processed by the Plan Administrator. Are you the Plan Administrator? Do you have a signed court order QDRO signed by the Judge!

  11. B parks September 14, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Does an Eriisa pension plan usually pay benefits to the estate of the deceased non-employee? There are
    no minor children. Trying to determine if in my divorce settlement negotiations if I should just take
    mine and let his estate have his Ira, so my pension isn’t affected.

    • Sandy McCarthy September 17, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Every plan is different. Talk to the Plan Administrator for more information about options they will allow. If you do need help preparing a QDRO, we can certainly do that.

  12. mamerto suico September 13, 2018 at 8:17 am

    i would like to know if you can help execute an existing QDRO that im trying to make it effective upon my ex wifes retirement age of 60 on her b-day this coming september 23, 2018 . She is not planning on retiring due to the fact that she wants to avoid having 1/2 of her retirement being automatically taken out from pension. Ive heard that i dont have to wait till she retires to start receiving the court ordered QDRO as long as she reaches her retirement age of 60. Can you help and enlighten me about my situation?

    • Sandy McCarthy September 17, 2018 at 9:52 am

      I would talk to an attorney to get some legal advice about what your options are.

  13. JoAnn Milano September 11, 2018 at 9:16 am

    A QDRO was sent to my ex’s plan administrator It was approved however there I am issue with a timeline This needs to be changed. however I have not seen the draft nor signed anything for approval. Is it accurate to say that this cannot go to the court without me having seen this? Time is of essence. Additionally 2 other plans have not yet been approved one of mine and one of his Typically do they all go in as one for approval by a judge? Thank you for your time.

    • Sandy McCarthy September 11, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      Each plan typically requires its own separate QDRO which usually requires the written signature of both parties.

  14. Patricia Frutkoff September 5, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Hi Sandy,
    Is it always process that once the money owed in a QDRO has been blessed by the courts and accepted/blessed by the plan administrator, that it get rolled into an account chosen by the plan administrator? Can I provide my own account I want the money rolled into, such as an IRA, etc? If I need money from it, how does that typically work?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Sandy McCarthy September 5, 2018 at 7:06 pm

      Usually they set up their own account but like any account you probably can roll it over to another one. Check with the Plan.

  15. Jamie August 30, 2018 at 9:29 am

    We have an old Divorce case, over 18 years old, that is final. A QDRO was entered but funds never settled due to many circumstances out of our control. I want to remove the lock on my accounts and offered a settlement. Long story short, we have agreed on a settlement amount. How do we go about changing the QDRO – Joinder and what forms would I need to enter into the courts?

    • Sandy McCarthy September 1, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Hi Jamie – we would simply need to modify the earlier judgment which we could help you with. Give us a call at 800-747-2780 and I will be happy to get this started for you.

  16. james d kofron July 26, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    I don’t want to modify anything. I agreed to the terms, as presented to me. She wanted a lump sum payment from my pension. Now, it isn’t quite working out, with my pension. No immediate payout available.Divorce is final. She will have to wait for 2 years per plan administrator. Because of this, she wants to re-open divorce judgement, to get other assets not included in the final court judgement. I don’t see how this is possible.

    • Sandy McCarthy July 26, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      I am not an attorney but I do not see how it is possible either. Talk to an attorney if you need legal advice.

  17. james d kofron July 25, 2018 at 8:59 am

    My divorce, is final. The judgement states that my wife, as the alternate payee, will receive 50% of my pension in a lump sum payment immediately upon finalization of divorce, in addition to non-modifiable maintenance payments for six months, which I have already fulfilled. However, the plan administrator states that no benefit can be paid to alternate payee, until I am retirement eligible. That is almost 2 years from now. Can the divorce judgement be re-opened to take other assets from me that were not included in the divorce decree, since she cannot get to my retirement benefits for another 2 years?

    • Sandy McCarthy July 25, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      Are you both wanting to modify the Judgment? If so, we can help with that paperwork.

  18. Madeleine July 20, 2018 at 1:26 am

    Hello Sandy, my QDRO has been submitted by my attorney this is my second attempt, I asked to my Attorney when we will receive the $400,000 he said bluntly I do not know! this is my first case working with this kind of QDRO!! what should I do ? where could I found out … who to call?

    • Sandy McCarthy July 20, 2018 at 8:08 am

      First of all, a QDRO is typically not a pay out of money. What they do is segregate the account into another retirement account for alternate payee’s awarded portion. Once this alternate account is set up, if the alternate payee decides to cash it out there most likely will be a huge tax penalty attributed. You may want to talk to the Plan Administrator or a CPA with regards to your intention of cashing out so there won’t be any unpleasant tax surprises. You can always call the Plan Administrator and urge them along in completing the QDRO approval process. Your comment was unclear as to whether or not the QDRO had actually already been submitted to the court or if you’re just now waiting for the plan to divide the account.

  19. Julian June 26, 2018 at 8:13 am

    It’s been almost 8 years since my divorce, at that time it was court ordered by the judge that a qdro be setup for my ex-wife to receive a lump sum of my pension through my employer which has already took place and has been closed. However, now I cannot access my pension plan account through my employer at all.. when I called and spoke with a plan administrator, I was told the case has been closed but they can’t take my ex-wife’s name off and they can’t fix the reason why I do not have access my account… I can never look at my own Pension Plan through my employer, that to me is rather shady. Please help.

    • Sandy McCarthy June 27, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      Sounds strange. You may want to talk to a lawyer.

  20. Sue S June 20, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I have a court date for our approved and signed (by both former spouses) QDRO. Do we both need to be present at court for the Judge’s approval?

    • Sandy McCarthy June 20, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      There usually is not a court hearing required for approving a QDRO so I am not sure what you are doing in this regard.

  21. Shelby Kirkland June 7, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Hello! Love the comments so far. My x won’t sign the QDRO and it’s been approved by the Plan. I am having to take his default (he moved to FL and won’t respond to me) and I am concerned about what to do next. Can I just sign it and file it with my default and judgment? Thank you for your time.

    • Sandy McCarthy June 7, 2018 at 10:52 pm

      Unfortunately not. We can help you file a motion however once the judgment has been approved by the court.

  22. Vivian Stutsman June 5, 2018 at 10:34 am

    Under the terms of my divorce the settlement included that I receive half of my ex-husband’s pension. At the time of the divorce this wasn’t a priority for me as I was in my 40’s. Now that I’m ready to obtain the pension, I had an attorney review the settlement and was advised the QDRO was not done at the time of the divorce. I contacted the attorney that handled the divorce and she wants $1,400.00 to complete the QDRO. I’m also living in another state (Colorado) now. I’m truly at a loss as to how to move forward with getting this completed. I have no contacts in the state (California) the divorce was finalized so I have absolutely no idea how to proceed! Any advice would be most appreciated!

    • Sandy McCarthy June 5, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      We can help you prepare for he required QDRO for far less ($499). Give us a call at 800-747-2780 and speak with Virginia at extension 103.

  23. Janet May 31, 2018 at 10:23 am

    Hi Sandy,
    MY divorce was finalized in 2012. A legitimate QDRO was drawn up by my attorney and has been filed with the local register of deeds and the state retirement system, as far as I know. My ex has now passed his retirement date in February and I’m sure he can’t afford to retire, lol. My question is: How do I go about getting my share of the retirement, I am ready to roll it into an IRA to gain interest until I myself can retire. Also any suggestions on the best IRA to choose?

    • Sandy McCarthy May 31, 2018 at 10:53 am

      Typically once the Plan Administrator has received the QDRO they automatically set up the alternate payee’s account. I would suggest talking to the Plan Administrator to get your questions answered.

  24. cheryl May 29, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Once a QDRO has been completed and the retirement fund amount has been determine for the Alternate payee and has been set aside in a separate account; can the employer still govern when that funds can be accessed.

    • Sandy McCarthy June 4, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Usually a separate account is set up for the alternate payee. I would suggest you talk to the Plan Administrator. If you are not getting the answers you feel you need, spea, to an attorney.

  25. Linda May 21, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    My husband went through a divorce 6 years ago. It was agreed upon that his ex would get 50% of his 401k. Divorce was finalized and the 2 went on their merry way. Now 6 years later his ex is saying she never received the funds from his 401k and is hounding my husband on getting the money. He has told her that her attorney was supposed to get the qdro written up but she is saying no that her attorney and his dropped the ball. My husbands employer has switched 401k providers and he’s tried to get statements from them. Once they sent him a statement he sent it to her attorney. It Had the balance at that time of the divorce. Her attorney is coming back and saying it wasn’t enough information. We are confused as to why he has to be involved when the the divorce decree clearly states she gets half of what it was at the time it states in the decree? Her attorney is starting to threaten my husband. My husband is not wanting to have to pay once again for an attorney when this was already taken care of 6 years ago. Is this normal?? Shouldn’t her attorney be the one writing up a QDRO order and sending it to my husbands HR with the decree and my husband should no longer be involve since it’s in the divorce decree? It was also stated that they could sit down and come up with a new amount. My husband is completely taken back as to why he is having to go through all of this once again. Any suggestions?

    • Sandy McCarthy May 22, 2018 at 7:25 pm

      First, look at the judgment and see if it indicates who was supposed to prepare the QDRO. The plan should calculate out the amount due. There should be no reason your husband would need to provide statements. If you need help in preparing the QDRO, please give our office a call 800-747-2780.

  26. Cabell Roach May 16, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    hi Sandy,

    i have a separation agreement from 2015 that my ex wife gets half of my 401k. our divorce was final in jan 2016. she had her divorce lawyer do her Qualified Domestic Relations Order . they have submitted this twice in the last 2 years only to be rejected for numerous mistakes. all the while my 401k has been frozen by the company until this is resolved. i’m losing money everyday because of this issue. can this order be overturned due to her taking too long ? do i have options?

    • Sandy McCarthy May 16, 2018 at 9:51 pm

      Your 401k share should still be subject to normal gains and losses so you should not be losing anything on your share.

  27. Patricia Landess May 10, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    My husband has battled with his employer over a quadro that we signed. Since then, my entitlement has been reduced. I have studied my documents and I think they have twisted a few things that were not clear in my ex’s favor. I would like to hire someone to look over my documents. I reside in Georgia.

    • Sandy McCarthy May 10, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      You would need to hire an attorney in the state where your divorce was filed if you need legal advice and review.

  28. Susan April 12, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Hello Sandy, my divorce judgement was entered for July 2016, we were married for 14 years, My x is entitled to half of the pension of the 14 years. A jointer has been filed with Calpers. If I don’t plan on retiring for another 4 years, should I have a QDRO drafted or just wait until I am close to retirement?

    • Sandy McCarthy April 14, 2018 at 3:08 am

      A QDRO is typically filed right away. You may be forfeiting income since date of separation. I would get it done asap!

      • Fruitless May 9, 2018 at 3:43 pm

        Hello Sandy, my quads has been
        completed since January 2018.
        It has already been signed by the Judge.
        The plan administrator acknowledgethat it qualifies as a quarry, I sent in forms
        for a direct deposit request in March,
        what is taking so long for the plan to
        give me my cut? I called the plan’s office and was told it was being audited. What could that possibly mean?

        • Sandy McCarthy May 10, 2018 at 7:32 am

          Perhaps calculating the division? Not sure..

  29. Lucy February 26, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Sandra I divorced and I was given half of my ex retirement. And I did qdro and the check was mailed to me, in order for me to roll over to IRA account. My cpa advice told me to bring the check to her office and I did. And they told me that I will receive mail from retirement company within 5days. After 14days i never receive any letter.I conducted the Pca and she told me she received the policy from Retirement company. I ask who’s address on the policy. They asked me if I can come to the office to review the account. Sandra please help I never did this before.

    • Sandy McCarthy February 28, 2018 at 3:06 am

      Too may want to talk to an attorney. I’m not sure what your question is regarding. Typically when a QDRO is processed, a separate account is set up for the alternate payee. I am not sure why you would have a check or why you would bring a check to your CPA on this. if you want to call her off at you can reach us at 800-747-2780. We may be able to look at the court docket to see what has been filed.

  30. Melania Bettarelli December 23, 2017 at 2:19 am

    My QDRO has been signed by the judge and then filed last November , but I have just been notified that my ex husband employer just changed the pension administrator in August. I am the alternate payee and now the new admin – Fidelity – is currently reviewing my QDRO to determine qualification.
    I am concerned that they may ask for a new QDRO, which would be excruciating for me. The filed QDRO language – it is a 401k – specify plan name, both participant and alternate payee information, valuation date, specific dollar amount, gains and losses, outstanding loans, commencement of alternate payee awards, taxation, etc. Now I am really concerned the new bookkeeper will not accept my assets valuation date ( 2010 )
    Thank you for any insight

    • Sandy McCarthy December 25, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      The valuation date should be established by the Judgment itself so the fact that the Plan administrator changed should have no bearing on that.

  31. Mike Munsey October 5, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    I had my attorney write up a QDRO for division of my retirement. It’s in the form of a stipulation, which has to be signed by the various parties, or so I thought. The Retirement plan has given preliminary approval of the QDRO. My ex has had the stipulation for almost a month (Certified mail) and has not responded. When I went to court, the judge looked at my paperwork and stated “this isn’t a QDRO, its only a stipulation. You need to come back with the QDRO”. I’ve looked at various sites online that do QDRO’s preparation and they all say that you first must have the stipulation and after it’s signed by the judge it becomes the QDRO. What am I missing? The attorney, who currently lives in the northern part of the state is perplexed as well.

    • Sandy McCarthy October 8, 2017 at 9:05 am

      First, we would have to see what you prepared. If your wife is not cooperating and signing the QDRO, we can assist in filing a motion to request the court sign on her behalf if the drafted QDRO complies with the terms of the judgment. Please give our office a call at 800-747-2780 extension 0.

  32. Jean Boyle August 30, 2017 at 2:06 am

    Hi Sandy, My ex was ordered to arrange a QDRO within 6 months of our divorce, his Attorney was to forward all documents to me. I am bipolar and have been in a fog for years, last year my life and meds changed and last night I read my divorce papers for the 1st time. This order was never carried through with, how do I go about getting what was supposed to be done, done, and am I entitled to interest on the amount I should have received?

    • Sandy McCarthy August 30, 2017 at 3:41 am

      You can hire a service like ours to prepare the QDRO. Hopefully it is not too late. You did not indicate how long ago you were divorced. Give us a call at 800-747-2780 if you need assistance.

  33. Virginia August 4, 2017 at 2:06 am


    I have a retirement account with TIAA-CREF. Recently, the Judge ordered my former husband to transfer QDRO some of the money from his Scottrade accounts. Could you please let me know from where I start? Can I use TIAA-CREF and open with them an IRA or I need to open a Scottrade account? Thank you.

    • Sandy McCarthy August 5, 2017 at 3:13 am

      Did you prepare the QDRO??

  34. Cora August 2, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Hi Sandy
    Just called the law office that is handling my QDRO since I was following up, Its taking a while and I always get an answer that I’m in line. Its been 2 months (May) now its August. Approximately how long ? And I never get a call or an update I have to be the one calling, that goes with my divorce lawyer as well. I’m looking for a new divorce lawyer right now and also thinking if my QDRO is with the right firm which my divorce lawyer referred.

    Can you give me an advise?

    • Sandy McCarthy August 2, 2017 at 11:26 pm

      QDROs can take several months but I cannot comment in your particular case since I do not know what efforts the lawyer has made with the draft or contacting the Plan Administrator regarding this. You might want to try and get some more information. If you feel your are being ignored, you may consider a Plan B company who will respond to your communications. Ignoring a client’s communication is, in our opinion, unacceptable.

  35. Lisa June 15, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Hi there, I hired a paralegal in Dec 2016 to prepare a quadro. It’s been six months! It’s like pulling teeth with a tooth pick to get him to reply. At this point I am concerned that he is blowing me off as he refuses to communicate with me. I have endless emails. I am asking if that is typical of how paralegals are supposed to treat their paying clients. Thank you

    • Sandy McCarthy June 15, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      First, if you hired a “paralegal” rather than a legal document assistant such as our office, that may have been your first mistake. Paralegals are not authorized to provide services directly to the public. If a paralegal is offering services to the general public they would be doing so illegally. You should have hired a registered legal document assistant. With regards to your other question, failure to respond to communications from a client would, if our office, be completely unacceptable. In fact, our office demands that staff respond to emails within the day of receipt. You may want to sue for the return of your money and hire another company that is reputable. We would be happy to assist you in this matter should you wish to reach out to us at 800-747-2780.

  36. Gracw April 25, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Can the recipient of the employee’s funds cash out part of their funds or does the whole amount have to be put into another plan?

    • Sandy McCarthy April 25, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      You should be able to cash it out AFTER they split it into a separate but most likely it would be a “taxable” event. The purpose of the QDRO is that it avoids the division being taxable. A cash out after the split would not. Talk to your CPA how this would affect you.

  37. Lillian Castaneda August 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    What happens when a former employer (who provided the retirement plan) requires the former spouse to show up in person before they will disburse the funds? (Meaning that the former employer will not disburse the funds for the original employee until the former spouse shows up in person at the office?”

    • Sandy McCarthy August 4, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      Usually a QDRO order is required to divide retirement funds. This includes obtain a court order and both parties signing the document.

Comments are closed.

error: Alert: Content is protected !!