Brackin McGriff & Johnson Law Firm

Brackin McGriff Johnson

150 West Section Avenue

Foley, Al 36535

251-943-4040
Monday, 14 November 2011 01:09

Domestic Relations Order

Baldwin County QDRO Preparation Attorneys

Retirement benefits may be the largest asset in the marital estate, and may even surpass the marital residence in value and importance to our clients. The issue of dividing retirement assets in divorce is complex and confusing. The pension landscape is a constantly changing one, making pension issues in divorce a constantly moving target -- even for the most seasoned attorney.  

What is a Domestic Relations Order?

A domestic relations order is a judgment, decree, or order (including the approval of a property settlement) that is made pursuant to state domestic relations law (including community property law) and that relates to the provision of child support, alimony payments, or marital property rights for the benefit of a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of a participant. 

A state authority, generally a court, must actually issue a judgment, order, or decree or otherwise formally approve a property settlement agreement before it can be a domestic relations order under ERISA. The mere fact that a property settlement is agreed to and signed by the parties will not, in and of itself, cause the agreement to be a domestic relations order. 

There is no requirement that both parties to a marital proceeding sign or otherwise endorse or approve an order. It is also not necessary that the retirement plan be brought into state court or made a party to a domestic relations proceeding for an order issued in that proceeding to be a domestic relations order or a qualified domestic relations order. Indeed, because state law is generally preempted to the extent that it relates to retirement plans, the Department takes the position that retirement plans cannot be joined as a party in a domestic relations proceeding pursuant to state law. Moreover, retirement plans are neither permitted nor required to follow the terms of domestic relations orders purporting to assign retirement benefits unless they are QDROs. 

What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?

A "qualified domestic relation order" (QDRO) 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, and that includes certain information and meets certain other requirements.  

The attorneys at Brackin, McGriff & Johnson can assist you in the preparation, review and interpretation of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders.

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders Attorney

Published in Practice Areas

At the law office of Brackin, McGriff and Johnson, we represent clients throughout the Gulf Coast region of Alabama, including those in Robertsdale, Foley, Daphne, Spanish Fort, Mobile, Summerdale, Bay Minette,

No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

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