QDRO in a Retirement and Divorce Case

A Qualified Domestic Relation Order or QDRO is part of the division of marital property in a South Carolina Divorce. A QDRO is a court order that is made pursuant to Federal and State Laws that recognize the existence of the divorced spouse's right to receive all or a portion of the benefits payable with respect to the ex spouse's benefits under their pension or retirement plan. Here are a few of the terms used in a qualified domestic relations order.

Participant - The person that the plan belongs to is the participant.

Alternate Payee - Usually the former spouse (but could also be a child or other dependent) of the participant that is entitled to receive all or a portion of proceeds under the retirement plan. For purposes of the QDRO provisions, an alternate payee cannot be anyone other than a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of a participant.

The requirement for a Qualified Domestic Relations Order was created by the Retirement Equity Act of 1984 as an amendment to the anti-alienation provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), that protected retirement plan assets from creditors.

South Carolina divorce law determines the division of marital property in a divorce. If you are awarded certain sums of money or a percentage of a retirement or pension plan and you want to collect, you will normally need a QDRO or qualified domestic relations order. Your divorce decree is not enough for you to be able to collect your portion of the retirement plan awarded to you in your South Carolina divorce.

If you are awarded a portion of your ex spouse's retirement, you need to be sure that your attorney prepares the Qualified Domestic Relations Order and has it submitted to the court and then to the financial institution. To be effective, the QDRO must be signed by the judge and also approved by the retirement plan administrator.

FAQs About QDRO

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order cannot be used to divide a military pension. For information on military pensions see

Military Pension in a Divorce

CONTACT A QDRO ATTORNEY

QDRO Case Law

Discussion on Two Methods to Divide a Pension by QDRO

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