Don’t Forget Retirement Benefits!
You may be divorced and have your divorce decree in hand but you or your former spouse may be entitled to a share of future retirement benefits.** For these benefits to be allocated, however, something called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) needs to be drawn up, agreed upon between parties, and approved by retirement plan administrators. Sounds like a lot of work after already going through divorce. But a Judgment of Divorce alone often just isn’t enough to legally designate future benefits tied up in a pension or retirement plan. A QDRO allows you or your former spouse to be designated as an Alternate Payee on the retirement plan and will formulate how future benefits are distributed between parties.
Parties that go through divorce often file a 9-207 Joint Statement of Marital Property. Each spouse lists marital property and estimates the value of the property acquired in marriage. Retirement benefits, including pension plans and 401(k)s, are listed among the assets. You or an ex-spouse may be eligible to a share of these benefits based on something called the Bangs Formula. The Bangs Formula is a formula based on a share of the numbers of years married over the monies paid into or accumulated in the retirement fund for the duration of the marriage. Unlike other marital property, a special order needs to be obtained for a former spouse to establish a legal right to a share of the benefit. This is where the QDRO comes in.
It is strongly advised that you obtain an attorney to manage the process of obtaining or negotiating a QDRO. To learn more about the process of obtaining a QDRO and the importance of retaining representation to provide you with the reasonable benefits that are available, click HERE.
Fred Antenberg is an Columbia Divorce Attorney who prepares QDROs for clients in Howard County, Maryland and in surrounding counties. Don’t leave your future financial security to the unqualified. We work on a retainer basis and even offer a volume discount in cases that require the production of more than one QDRO. CONTACT Fred at 410-730-4404.
** Under Md. Ann. Code, Family Law § 8-203 the court’s jurisdiction after a Judgment of Absolute Divorce is only 90 days, unless the parties have stipulated and agreed in a formal writing, or the court in its Judgment of Absolute Divorce preserves jurisdiction beyond 90 days.