We’re divorced. How do we get a QDRO?

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Q. We are divorced and we pre-approved a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). How does one actually get the court order for it?
— Not married anymore

A. This shouldn’t be a tough task.

A QDRO is a court order that grants one spouse a portion of the other spouse’s employer-sponsored retirement account.

Generally, getting the QDRO drafted and pre-approved is the more difficult part of the process, said Thomas Roberto, a family law attorney with Adinolfi, Molotsky, Burick & Falkenstein in Haddonfield.

He said if you have already cleared these hurdles, getting the QDRO signed and certified should be simple.

Once a QDRO has been pre-approved by a plan administrator, it can be sent to the court to be signed by a New Jersey Superior Court judge, Roberto said.

“The pre-approved QDRO can be mailed to the judge’s chambers, with a copy provided to the other party, with a request that the Court execute the QDRO and return it to the fling party with a `gold seal,’ which is generally required to confirm the QDRO has been certified,” he said. “Once it is signed by the judge and filed with the court, the QDRO becomes a court order.”

The court will mail the signed QDRO back to the requesting party, and it can then be submitted to the financial institution for implementation, Roberto said.

Roberto said if both parties are in agreement with the terms of the QDRO, it may be best for both of them to sign the QDRO themselves before submitting it to the court. This can help avoid claims that one party did not have notice of the QDRO, or that the QDRO was submitted without their consent, which could potentially lead to litigation down the road, he said.

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This story was originally published on May 22, 2019.

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