Divorce: More Tension Over Your Pension

Divorce and Pensions

Make sure your lawyer both  obtains an absolute divorce for you and obtains a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, often referred to as a “QDRO”, or makes arrangements to obtain a QDRO.

We receive numerous inquiries from individuals who were divorced and are in need of qualified domestic relations orders (QDROS) or other orders related to defined-benefit plans or other deferred compensation plans.

Clients are often surprised to learn at the end of their case that,  even though they were represented by a Family Law attorney in the divorce action, their lawyer was not going to prepare the QDRO or arrange for it to be prepared. Qualified domestic relations orders involve special knowledge and experience, including sufficient knowledge of Maryland Family Law. Often because of the complexities of these orders, lawyers will utilize the services of a professional who is specially trained in that area.

In addition,  it is extremely important to preserve the rights of the recipient or  of the beneficiary through various means.  For instance, if the parties are entering into  a property settlement agreement, it is vital for the agreement to include language that the  circuit court  maintains jurisdiction. If the agreement does not have adequate language to preserve jurisdiction of the circuit court over the QDROs, the recipient or intended beneficiary of the pension may lose his or her rights.  If the court orders do not properly address the issue of jurisdiction, the intended beneficiaries may also lose pension benefits.  Also, survivor benefits need to be included in the agreements and orders.

The issues raised above are but a few of the reasons why you, as an individual going through a divorce, need to be sure of what is being planned. You need to know the people who will be preparing the QDROs and the associated costs.  Make certain that you know that these objectives are being dealt with and by whom.

Therefore,  we recommend that you and your attorney decide whether or not your attorney will prepare the qualified domestic relations order(s) or whether he/she will arrange for the qualified domestic relations order(s) to be prepared by a trained professional.  Also, you need to be certain that your Family Law attorney will make sure that jurisdiction is preserved at the circuit court where the divorce is obtained.

Fred Antenberg is a Family Lawyer who has over 30 years’ experience preparing separation agreements and arranging for QDROs to be prepared.

Fred represents individuals in Howard County, Maryland, and surrounding Maryland counties. Fred has his office in Columbia, Maryland.

CONTACT Fred at 410 730 4404 for your FREE Consultation