What is a qualified domestic relations order?

New Jersey residents who get a divorce may be worried not only about their current finances, but also about their money in the future. This is particularly true if you were relying on the idea of having retirement benefits or a pension through your ex-spouse. Fortunately, there are still ways to get your share of retirement and pension benefits.

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) defines qualified domestic relations orders (QDRO) as an order that assigns or acknowledges your right to get some or all of your rightful retirement or pension benefits from a plan shared with your ex-spouse. This differs from domestic relations orders, which is a more general term that applies to the division of property rights, alimony, or child support payment.

A QDRO can be part of your divorce decree or property settlement, as there’s no law stating that it must be filed separately. Your qualification status won’t be affected if you decide to include it in the aforementioned papers.

A QDRO can be issued by any state agency that has the authority to levy decrees, orders, or judgments. It doesn’t necessarily need to be administered by a state court, as long as the institution is properly qualified. Additionally, your QDRO must contain information such as the percentage or dollar amount that you expect to be paid, the names and last known addresses of you and your ex-spouse, and the number of payments you expect to receive.

Dealing with a divorce is difficult enough without having to worry about your future financial stability. Relying on a QDRO to ensure that you’ll have a more financially secure future can alleviate some of that stress.