March 3, 2014

Getting the most out of a divorce settlement

How a QDRO can provide peace of mind

One of the most frustrating aspects of finalizing a divorce can be ensuring that the other party follows through on the terms of a  divorce settlement. Regardless of the amount, a spouse may be reliant upon the retirement funds for current or future financial needs. Often, women are the victims of a non-paying ex-husband who was the primary earner for the duration of the marriage. A great option to ensure disbursement of retirement funds in a divorce settlement is the use of a QDRO or Qualified Domestic Relations Order.

Women can often find themselves in fear of what the future holds without the other spouse’s income, especially in retirement. The use of a QDRO in a divorce settlement is a surefire way to get the deserved portion of a 401K, pension, or other retirement benefits. It is a court order or decree that establishes the alternate payee’s right to receive all or a portion of the benefits of the ex-spouse’s retirement plan.

Having this assurance can allow women the opportunity to maintain a financial strategy with respect to retirement. Additionally, federal law allows the use of a retirement plan for payment of child support and alimony. This creates a way for women to enforce spousal support and ensure financial stability month to month.

A QDRO can essentially create a lien against an ex’s retirement plan, specifically for ERISA accounts (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) like a 401K. This would not apply to IRAs and other similar accounts. A judge is able to order that if obligor spouse misses or refuses to pay any spousal or child support, the funds can be pulled from the retirement plan. This provides a security net for obligees who suspect an ex-spouse will fall through on their post-divorce obligations.

Support arrearages can also be paid from a retirement plan as part of a QDRO; however, the amounts and timing of payments may be limited by the type of retirement plan. Temporary support and attorney’s fees can be collected from a retirement account via QDRO. Only an experienced divorce lawyer can craft and explain the stipulations of a QDRO. Timing is essential when it comes to pursuing this option, as there are restrictions on these claims once a divorce decree is entered.

The importance of having an experienced divorce attorney is critical to developing and negotiating a divorce settlement. When and how to use a QDRO can be divisive for many clients, especially when an ex is not cooperative in abiding support orders. To discuss your divorce settlement or other concerns, contact the Law Offices of Michael Kuldiner, P.C. and our experienced Bucks County divorce lawyers can provide the persistence and knowledge to get what you are entitled to.

Call (215) 942-2100 today to schedule your consultation with a Doylestown divorce lawyer. Or submit an online inquiry form and a member of our team will contact you shortly to schedule your appointment.