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When Do You Need a QDRO in a Florida Divorce?


When you think about property division during your divorce, you may be most concerned about large assets like your primary residence and other property you may own. However, you may be overlooking one of the most valuable assets in your portfolio — your retirement accounts. Retirement accounts are often one of the most valuable assets in a divorce. You may be entitled to a portion of your spouse’s retirement account if it is deemed marital property.

This is where a QDRO comes in. This stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order, and it’s the document that tells your spouse’s retirement plan administrator that you are eligible to receive a portion of his or her retirement account. In Florida, QDROs may also be used to help collect child support and/or alimony payments.

QDROs are not simple documents, and they should only be completed by a knowledgeable Florida divorce attorney who has the legal expertise to ensure it is completed correctly.

What Does a QDRO Do in a Divorce?

QDROs establish your rights to obtain payments from your ex’s retirement account. It may be issued as part of the divorce proceedings, or it can also be issued as a separate decree. It is more comprehensive than just saying you are entitled to receive money. A well-drafted Florida QDRO will outline the payment details like when you will receive the funds and how much are you receiving.

If there are multiple plans, your Florida divorce attorney will make sure they obtain all the specifications from each applicable plan. This is not a blanket QDRO that is the same for each retirement account. In order to be valid, a QDRO needs the following information at a minimum:

  • Names of each retirement plan
  • Your contact information, including name and address
  • Your spouse’s contact information, including name and address
  • The payment amount, or the calculation method of how you reached that determination
  • The length and duration of payments you are to be receiving

What Will You Receive with a QDRO?

The amount you will receive with a QDRO is very subjective and will vary on a number of different factors. One of the main factors is how long you were married and how much of your spouse’s retirement was earned during the course of your marriage. If you were only married for a year and his or her retirement account declined during that period, it’s very likely you aren’t receiving much, if anything at all. However, if you were married for 30 years and the retirement plan quadrupled during that time, it’s a completely different story.

In Florida, the Department of Management Services can approve QDROs related to pension plans and Alight Solutions will handle investment accounts. The procedure for government-issued retirement accounts is different, which is another reason why you want a Florida divorce attorney to handle this process.

Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney Today

Do you or your spouse have retirement accounts that could be considered marital property? Contact the Boca Raton divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White today at 561-391-9943 to schedule an initial consultation.




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