QDROs & Process
1. My divorce agreement states that I must obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). How do I do that?
The first step is to provide us with a copy of the Stipulation of Settlement/Separation Agreement/Judgement of Divorce, etc. (Send the 1st page, the last page & any pages that pertain just to the retirement accounts). We will review the documents and respond with a list of additional items and/or questions needed to complete the QDRO as well as the fees needed to complete the process.
2. What constitutes as a retirement plan?
A retirement plan can be an ERISA covered retirement plan which includes traditional pension, 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans. A retirement plan can also mean a non-ERISA governmental plan as well as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs).
3. What documents will you need?
We will send you a detailed checklist of the information that we need from the appropriate parties.
4. What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept credit cards, checks, or money orders. Checks or money orders should be made payable to Pension Actuaries, Inc and mailed to the below address:
Pension Actuaries, Inc.
2500 Westchester Avenue, Suite 106
Purchase, NY 10577
Credit card payments can be made through our website.
Note: Full payment is required to open a case.
5. How do I submit documents to you?
You can mail your documents to us at the address listed above or fax them to (914) 251-1922. You can also email your papers to us. It is extremely important that you provide us with all of the information from the checklist. The longer it takes for us to receive all of the data that we need, the longer it will take for the process to be completed.
6. When will you begin working on my QDRO?
We will begin modeling the language that will go into the draft order of the QDRO as soon as administratively possible after receipt of:
- All of the requested information on our checklist
- Full payment of our fees
Drafts are completed in the order in which they are received. Once the model language in the Draft Order is completed, we will send a copy of it to the retirement plan for their pre-approval. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s) do not require pre-approval.
7. What happens after you receive the pre-approval letter from the retirement plan?
Once a pre-approval letter has been received from the retirement plan we will then send a final copy of the QDRO as well as the approval letter to the participant, alternate payee, and/or the attorneys for review. It is the responsibility of the participant, alternate payee, or attorney(s) to review the QDRO in its entirety; sign it and submit the QDRO to the Court for signature by the Judge. It is not our responsibility to submit the QDRO to the court.
8. How do I submit the QDRO to the court for the Judge’s signature?
You, your ex-spouse or one of your attorneys must submit the QDRO to the court for the Judge’s signature. It is not our responsibility to submit the QDRO to the court. If your attorney is not involved in the QDRO process, then you or your ex-spouse must call the County Clerk’s Office where your divorce has been filed and inquire about how to obtain the Judge’s signature for a QDRO. The County Clerk will be able to advise you as to how to submit the QDRO and obtain the Judge’s signature.
9. What do I do once the QDRO has been signed by the Judge?
A certified copy must be sent to the plan and/or QDRO administrator by either the participant, alternate payee, or attorney so that benefits can be assigned to the alternate payee.
10. How do I know who the plan administrator is?
The plan and/or QDRO administrator is named in the QDRO and the approval letter.
11. How long will it take before I receive my money?
The process to assign benefits to an alternate payee can take approximately 3 to 6 months from start to finish. Remember that not all retirement plans allow for the alternate payee to have immediate access to their portion of the retirement benefits. Some retirement plans only allow the alternate payee to begin receiving their portion of the retirement plan benefit when the participant actually retires. That could be years away.