Streamlined QDRO Preparation Services

Discover hassle-free QDRO preparation services tailored for clients and attorneys. Trust Smarter QDRO Solutions for accurate, efficient, and affordable qualified domestic relations order drafting.

Dedicated. Dependable. Proven.

You can count on us!

At Smarter QDRO Solutions, we specialize in Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), crucial legal documents used to divide retirement assets like pensions and 401(k) plans during divorce proceedings. A QDRO ensures fair and compliant distribution of these assets, outlining post-divorce entitlements and protecting each party’s financial interests.

Negotiating and establishing a QDRO is essential during divorce to avoid tax liabilities and delays in accessing entitled retirement benefits. Without a properly executed QDRO, individuals may face challenges in receiving their portion of retirement assets. Therefore, it’s vital to engage professionals who understand QDRO intricacies to ensure a smooth and accurate division of retirement benefits.

At Smarter QDRO Solutions, we are the trusted experts in QDRO preparation, serving clients and attorneys alike.

Your QDRO Questions Answered

Get all your answers and guidance to help clients and attorneys navigate this critical aspect of divorce proceedings efficiently and effectively.
What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?
  • 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans.
  • Thrift plans.
  • Profit-sharing plans.
  • Money purchase plans.
  • Employee stock ownership plans.
  • Tax-sheltered annuities.
  • Defined benefit or pension plans.
What retirement benefits require a QDRO to divide
  • 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans.
  • Thrift plans.
  • Profit-sharing plans.
  • Money purchase plans.
  • Employee stock ownership plans.
  • Tax-sheltered annuities.
  • Defined benefit or pension plans.
Why do I Need a QDRO?

A QDRO is the specific court order required of the company or plan administrator to divide an employer-sponsored retirement benefit as a non-taxable event incident to divorce. If you were awarded or ordered to pay a portion of an employer-sponsored retirement benefit to a spouse, former spouse, or dependent, a QDRO is required to secure the order of the court and the provisions of the Marital Settlement Agreement, Decree, or Judgment of Divorce.

What will I get if I hire Smarter Divorce Solutions to assist with my QDRO?

Information gathering:

  • Plan discovery
  • Draft proposed QDRO
  • Work directly with plan administrators
  • Regular follow-up and communication during process
  • Obtain written pre-approval from plan administrators
  • Draft final QDRO that is suitable for signatures and court filing
  • Provide court and plan filing instructions
  • Serve on the Plan Administrator

See our QDRO Procedures for more information.

What retirement benefits can be divided by QDRO?

State / Local Government Plan:

  • Military Retired Pay
  • Federal Service Retirement System (FERS)
  • Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)
  • Railroad Retirement
  • Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
  • Individual Investment / Brokerage Account
  • Joint Investment / Brokerage Account
  • Non-Qualified Account
Can I get a QDRO prepared before the divorce is final?

Yes. A QDRO can be prepared, and a proposed draft can be served on plan administrators for formal review prior to filing the QDRO with the court. It is suggested that a draft or unsigned copy be served on plan administrators for pre-approval and review prior to filing the QDRO with the court. The review and pre-approval by plan administrators can generally take 30-60 days.

How much does a QDRO cost?

Smarter Divorce Solutions has established a flat fee cost structure depending on the type of retirement plan to be divided. Most companies or third-party administrators also charge an additional QDRO processing fee to divide defined contribution plans or 401(k) accounts, which must be disclosed upfront in the plan’s Summary Plan Description (SPD). This fee is generally a few hundred dollars and can be allocated to the Participant, Alternate Payee, or split between the two parties within the QDRO using the QDRO proceeds. Additional plan fees do not apply to the division of a defined benefit or pension plan.

Please see our Fee Schedule for more information.

How long will a QDRO take to complete?

The time frame for completing the QDRO process once payment has been made for services is typically between 30-120 days, but it can vary. Unique agreements, unique plan terms and procedures, or a lack of cooperation can delay the general timeline.

Orders drafted by Smarter Divorce Solutions are generally prepared for review within 10 business days of receipt of payment. Our office regularly follows up with each party and the plan administrators to ensure the QDRO process is moving forward as efficiently as possible.

Can a QDRO be drafted to divide a plan that is in-pay status?

Yes, a domestic relations order requiring a portion of a participant’s annuity benefit payments be paid to an alternate payee does not fail to be a QDRO solely because the domestic relations order was issued after the annuity starting date. A Shared Interest QDRO is required.

Reference: see section 1001 of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, Pub. L. 109-280, 120 Stat. 780 (Aug. 17, 2006).

Does a QDRO create a taxable event?

No. The QDRO is drafted specifically to execute a non-taxable transfer from the Participant’s account to an account that must be established in the name of the Alternate Payee. The division of the account pursuant to a QDRO is a non-taxable event to both parties.

What about taxes?

As mentioned, the QDRO itself does not create a taxable event, but any subsequent distribution from either account will. Tax liability is created when funds are distributed (a rollover is a non-taxable event) from the account(s), and the distributions are treated like ordinary income.

Please be aware, pursuant to IRC Section 72(t), an Alternate Payee is subject to any federal and state tax liability as a result of a distribution from the plan. However, pursuant to a properly drafted QDRO, an Alternate Payee is exempt from the 10% federal early withdrawal penalty if distributing funds from the Alternate Payee account prior to age 59 and 1/2.

Who is required to sign a Domestic Relations Order?

A state authority, generally a court, must actually issue a judgment, order, or decree or otherwise formally approve a property settlement agreement before it can be a “domestic relations order” under ERISA. The mere fact that a property settlement is agreed to and signed by the parties will not, in and of itself, cause the agreement to be a domestic relations order. There is no requirement that both parties to a marital proceeding sign or otherwise endorse or approve an order. It is also not necessary that the retirement plan be brought into state court or made a party to a domestic relations proceeding.

Reference: ERISA §§ 206(d)(3)(B)(ii), 514(a), 514(b)(7); IRC § 414(p)(1)(B)

How We Help You

At Smarter QDRO Solutions, we specialize in efficiently managing qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) to facilitate seamless property division for both attorneys and individuals navigating divorce proceedings.

Let’s Get Started

Take the first step towards securing your financial future. Fill out our form today to schedule a personalized consultation with our QDRO experts.

QDRO & division of retirement benefits services we offer:
  • QDRO Review
  • Suggested Retirement Account Division language for the Decree/MSA
  • Plan Discovery on terms, conditions, elections options, elections in pay
  • QDRO Discovery on division options
  • Pension Valuations
  • Determination of Community Property
  • Retirement Account Equalization Analysis
  • Market Fluctuation or Earning/Loss Tracing

Don’t leave the division of retirement assets to chance.

Reach Out Today!



Download Now

FREE Guide! 5 Ways to Prepare Your Client for the Divorce Process: A Guide for Therapists and Counselors

You have Successfully Subscribed!