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Resolving Sensitive Matters With Compassionate Counsel
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Rochester Metro Family Law And Estate Administration Attorney
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  6.  » How Do Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) Work?

Understanding New York Retirement Asset Division

Many people don’t realize that their pensions and retirement assets may be subject to division in a New York state divorce. A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is a court order that divides your retirement assets, union pension or military pension when you get divorced.

At Trotto Law Firm, P.C., firm founder Jonathan Trotto has worked with numerous divorcing people who were concerned about getting an equitable division of the marriage’s joint assets, including the pension, retirement and 401(k) accounts. We understand that these assets take years to accumulate, that they often represent years of service and that considerable interest is at stake when you are looking to equitably divide these assets.

What Are DROs And QDROs?

A domestic relations order (DRO) is a court order that is issued after the final judgment of divorce. In a New York divorce, a DRO will give the other spouse (the “alternate payee”) a right to all or a portion of the other spouse’s retirement benefits. A DRO can make an ex-spouse a beneficiary of a pre-retirement death benefit, a post-retirement death benefit or a retirement plan. A DRO differs from a QDRO in that a QDRO has been qualified.

“Qualified” means that once the divorce is final, the DRO was sent to an administrator or the spouse’s employer for review. If the plan falls under certain laws and meets requirements, then the benefits that the plan provides will be divided between the spouses. Some plans allow for the alternate payee to receive a payout right away. Other plans require the alternate payee to wait until the spouse/employee retires or reaches the age of retirement as defined in the plan. Still other plans do not allow for an alternate payee to be eligible to receive retirement benefits.

Get The Guidance You Need On DROs

Understanding retirement, pension and employer plans can be complex. This is especially true with those in the military. At Trotto Law Firm, P.C., we have the experience and skill to offer knowledgeable guidance. Call 585-643-7144 and speak with a member of our team about how we can help. You can also connect with us via email.