What is QDRO?

In order to divide a retirement asset, specifically a defined benefit plan or a defined contribution plan, the court must sign off on a qualified domestic relations order, also known as a QDRO or QUADRO.  The QDRO is a court order that authorizes the plan administrator to assign an employee spouse’s benefits to a non-employee spouse.  Generally the process goes as follows: the parties agree to division of a retirement asset, the parties jointly select a third party attorney to draft the QDRO for that asset, both parties sign the QDRO and send it to the judge, the judge signs off on the QDRO, and the finally the parties submit the executed QDRO to the plan administrator.  It’s important to consult an attorney when dealing with division of retirement assets, because QDROs are very technical.  Furthermore, an attorney can work with you to determine the tax ramifications of dividing retirement assets.