I’m getting divorced: What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)?

After a divorce is settled, the family law court may issue a domestic relations order (DRO). The DRO is considered “qualified” if accepted by your 401(k) plan administrator.

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a court order used to divide assets in specific types of retirement plans, including qualified and 403(b) plans. QDROs are permitted for three reasons: 

  1. to divide marital assets in a divorce or separation,
  2. to pay alimony or,
  3. to provide child support.

This court order grants the “alternate payee” the right to part of the retirement benefits of a former spouse, or participant, earned through an employer-sponsored retirement plan. If you are in the process of working with your legal or financial advisor to draft this court order for submission to Guideline, please review this article on how to submit a QDRO request.

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