QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order)

In order to accrue the full value of your retirement account, you must wait until the account matures.

However, the contents of your retirement account are subject to equitable distribution according to the laws of almost every state. For that reason, it becomes necessary, sometimes, to raid the retirement account to divide the assets.

A QDRO allows a divorcing couple to divide the contents of the retirement account without triggering the financial penalty. The VanNoy Firm can help Dayton, OH, couples navigate QDROs and other complex asset management matters during their divorce.

How Does a QDRO work?

Once your divorce is finalized, you must ensure that the court has issued an order concerning the specific IRA or 401(k) that will be divided. Once you have the court order, you will submit it to the retirement plan administrator. The administrator will review the order to ensure it meets the requirements of a valid QDRO. In most cases, there are no issues here. The administrator will use the terms of the QDRO to create two retirement trusts, one for each spouse. Your retirement plan has now been divested into two.

Retirement Benefits in an Ohio Divorce

Do I have to give up a stake in my retirement assets during a divorce? Not necessarily. It depends heavily on the earning power of both spouses. Technically, under Ohio law, everything that the two spouses earned would be considered a part of the marital estate. That only discludes inheritances and gifts. So, it’s basically everything acquired during the marriage, including retirement benefits.

In cases where one spouse accrued retirement benefits and the other did not, the retirement benefits are almost always subject to distribution. 

The only way to prevent a retirement account from being disbursed in this manner is to offer something else in place of it.

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Anthony S. VanNoy
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Trial Attorney

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