Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) and Domestic Relations Orders (“DROs”) are a necessary part of nearly all divorces and generally come as a final step in the divorce process. As retirement accounts are typically one of the largest assets involved in a divorce, it is important to make sure that you receive a fair settlement.
Plan administrators have specific responsibilities and duties with respect to determining whether a document purporting to be a QDRO is in fact a QDRO. Plan administrators―as plan fiduciaries―are required to discharge their duties prudently and solely in the interest of plan participants and beneficiaries. Plan Administrators must establish reasonable procedures to determine the qualified status of domestic relations orders and to administer distributions pursuant to qualified orders. Plan Administrators are required to follow the plan's procedures for making QDRO determinations.
In addition, Plan Administrators are required to furnish notice to participants and alternate payees of the receipt of a domestic relations order and to provide a copy of the plan's procedures for determining the qualified status of such orders. The Plan Administrator is required to determine whether the order is a QDRO within a reasonable period of time after receipt of the order and to promptly notify the participant and each alternate payee of such determination.
Disputes involving a QDRO or DRO can progress to formal litigation in State Court or Federal Court. Butterfield Schechter LLP is one of a handful of firms in the United States with the requisite knowledge and expertise required to litigate disputes involving QDROs and DROs. Butterfield Schechter LLP is comprised of seasoned attorneys who have extensive experience litigating complicated disputes involving QDROs and DROs in California and throughout the United States.
Do you need assistance with a litigation or pre-litigation matter involving a QDRO or DRO? Our attorneys are well-versed and passionate about retirement benefit law and here to assist.