Upon finalizing a divorce, there may be payments that must be made from one spouse to another. Spousal support and child support are two of them. A “qualified domestic relations order or QRDO,” is a special order that is used to distribute pension rights between divorcing couples. If your spouse had a pension plan and you believe that you deserve part of it, you need to talk to an attorney about getting a QRDO in place.
There is also a payment called a “domestic relations order, or RDO,” that can be made in case you two have a dispute that must be settled by the court. This type of order makes it legal for child support payments, alimony payments and marital property rights for the benefit of a spouse, child or any other dependent that have a claim against your retirement plan. Just because both of you sign it though, doesn’t automatically make it a domestic relations order. There is not even a requirement that the domestic relations order be signed by either party to make it active.
Your first step is to take your spouse to court and get the court to issue an order dividing a retirement plan or pension. This can be contested by the party paying or you two can come to an understanding that you are going to work together and make a decision before the court gets involved. It makes it so much easier for everyone if you can do this.
An attorney can step in and help from the beginning of this action. Being informed about a QRDO is important as well, so don’t give up doing you research on this subject.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, “Qualified Domestic Relations Orders,” accessed Oct. 21, 2015