Division of Marital Property – QDRO

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QDRO Florida Divorce Lesson

In life we are all faced with things that make you go hmmm. Much like this season’s Atlanta Falcons and Kimye’s decision to name their baby North (I mean, really?); when the term QDRO gets brought up in the context of the division of marital property, there seems no more apropos soundtrack than that provided by C & C Music Factory. And, as an extension of my last post discussing retirement accounts, this post will delve into the wildly exciting world of the QDRO.

Sorry to disappoint if you took that last sentence literally, but since the acronym was probably coined by some stodgy accountant or divorce lawyer, it’s light years away from the more creative acronyms of the past few decades i.e. THUG LIFE. As an aside, if you were under the impression Tupac’s slogan had to do with gang-banging, do yourself a favor and look it up. And, of course, pour out a little liquor in memory of the greatest lyrical poet to ever live. But again, like in the majority of my posts, I digress. In the realm of the division of marital property, a qualified domestic relation order (I warned you it was lame) is a domestic relations order that creates or recognizes the existence of an alternate payee’s right to receive, or assigns to an alternate payee the right to receive, all or a portion of the benefits payable with respect to a participant under a retirement plan. Translation: unless your former hunny bunny is able to immediately shell out the portion of his or her retirement benefits that you are entitled to, you’re going to have to secure a QDRO to ensure you receive said benefits through a deferred distribution.

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Is It Safe To Use a QDRO Form?

Naturally, there are some exceptions. For instance, a qualified domestic relations order can’t be used to force direct payment to a nonparticipating spouse for the portion of their ex’s municipal pension benefits they should otherwise receive.  Further, a disability pension, unlike a retirement pension, is not a marital asset for the purpose of a division of marital property. Basically, if the former love of your life is punching a time card at city hall or laid up as a result of  a back injury from lifting two-by-fours building the neighborhood Fresh Market, you’re going to need to get creative in order to get your hands on that scrilla. It is important to note that there are also many benefits that can be included in a QDRO that the average bear would never realize his or entitlement to, such as survivor benefits and comprehensive medical and dental insurance coverage.

Like most aspects of divorce, the division of marital property has many nuances. Because of these complexities, it is imperative that you retain an ingenious divorce attorney to fully advocate for your interests.   The steps you take now to protect yourself can determine your quality of life in your later years and, realistically, who would ever want to get steamrolled by their ex just because of an incompetent divorce attorney who didn’t think to employ the expertise of a QDRO consultant? In the words of Tupac, holler if ya hear me.

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