Defined contribution plans, 401(k)s, pensions and other retirement benefits are considered marital property.** This means, one spouse may be entitled to a portion of the other spouse’s retirement benefits upon divorce.
If you are party to a divorce decree that either entitles you to a share of your ex-spouse’s retirement benefits or entitles your ex-spouse to a share of your benefits, you will want an attorney’s help managing this process. An attorney will seek to improve the outcome for you and ensure you receive the reasonable benefits that are available. It is important to remember that retirement benefits represent a limited, finite resource. That is, if one party’s benefit goes up, the other party’s goes down. You will want to be properly advised because these outcomes may have a lasting impact on your financial security.
The process of obtaining a QDRO involves a number of steps. First, the QDRO must be actuarially determined to produce the level of benefits that are available to you or your former spouse. Next, the QDRO must go to opposing counsel (your ex’s attorney) for their consent. They have a right to consent or object. If they object, negotiations take place between parties’ attorneys as to the terms. Besides being technical, theses negotiations need professional and determined attention to detail. Once an agreement has been reached, the QDRO must be submitted to the pension plan for approval. Plan administrators at times have exacting requirements that an attorney may have to negotiate and navigate through to work out any outstanding issues. You need representation throughout these negotiations. Your former spouse’s attorney will concurrently be striving for the best outcome for their side, and you need an attorney on your side to ensure a reasonable outcome. To learn more about this process, click HERE.
Fred Antenberg is an 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. Call 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.