Author Archives: admin

The 7 Steps in the QDRO Process

The preparation, filing and approval of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) takes time and care. Completion usually takes one to six months, but it can take longer, depending on the complexity of the Plan, the clarity and precision of … Continue reading

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Pensions and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Divorce

People file their own divorce because they can’t afford to hire an attorney, or they agree with their spouse about all divorce issues and can file a relatively simple uncontested divorce. One of the most popular ways to file your … Continue reading

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Security for the Alternate Payee’s Share of the Retirement Account

The order requires that the participant pay the benefits to the alternate payee within a specified period of time. Naming the participant as a constructive trustee does not relieve the Plan Administrator of responsibility to pay the benefits under a … Continue reading

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Forcing a Pension “Cash Out” Upon Divorce

When the spouses have sufficient assets, the offset method – trading the pension in exchange for, say, a mutual fund – may be more advantageous than a QDRO and a share of the participant’s pension; however, the participant cannot force … Continue reading

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Working Well With the Plan Administrator

In divorce negotiations, a client is going to ask what he or she can expect to receive from his or her spouse’s retirement plan. In order to answer, an attorney must be familiar with the plan because he or she … Continue reading

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Are Military Disability Pensions a Marital Asset?

A veteran’s disability pension cannot be divided in a divorce because it is not considered a marital asset. In fact, Federal law expressly prohibits state courts from dividing a veteran’s disability pension as part of the divorce decree, so a … Continue reading

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QDRO Used to Establish Security Interest in a Plan

One little known use of QDROs is to provide a security interest in a participant’s qualified plan benefits to the non-participant spouse. Often in divorce settlements, security interests are granted in property awarded to the other spouse. This happens when … Continue reading

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Common Mistakes When Valuing a Pension

A number of common mistakes can happen when valuing defined benefit and defined contribution plans – including partial offsets and tax consequences. What’s wrong with using a present value of a defined benefit plan in a marital settlement agreement?  In … Continue reading

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Forcing a Pension “Cash Out”

When the spouses have sufficient assets, the offset method – trading the pension in exchange for, say, a mutual fund – may be more advantageous than a QDRO and a share of the participant’s pension; however, the participant cannot force … Continue reading

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Fees Charged by Certain Plan Administrators

A little-noticed change to the federal Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA) permits plan administrators to charge QDRO processing fees for a 401(k) to plan participants and alternate payees. Prior to May 2003, the federal regulations precluded plan administrators from charging … Continue reading

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