Dividing Your Retirement in Virginia Divorce- Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)

By | September 13, 2012
retirement plan virginia divorce

Dividing Your Retirement In Virginia Divorce – Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs).  Your spouse’s retirement account may be his or her largest asset and as part of the property division associated with your divorce the Court may apportion that account between the two of you. Often, for example, the court will equally divide the “marital share” share of a retirement account (i.e. it will evenly split the amount contributed during the marriage).

Procedurally, how does that happen? In most cases, it happens with a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). These orders facilitate the transfer of retirement funds from one retirement account to another without the early withdrawal penalties you might otherwise expect. QDROs or similar orders are used to divide for retirement accounts such as 401(K) plans (a.k.a. defined contribution retirement plans), pension plans (a.k.a. defined benefit retirement plans), military retirement benefits and federal government retirement benefits such as Thrift Savings, FERS and CSRS benefits.

Drafting a QDRO is difficult work for reasons I won’t bore you with. These orders are NOT something a non-lawyer should attempt to draft. In fact, many lawyers in Northern Virginia avoid drafting them at all costs. If you have a question about the division of retirement accounts, what benefits you might be entitled to or how these orders get drafted, feel free to drop me a line.

Jason A. Weis, Esquire – Curran Moher Weis P.C. – jweis@curranmoher.com – 10300 Eaton Place, Suite 520, Fairfax, VA 22030 – 571-328-5020.


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