IDFA Online Learning
What You Need to Know about QDROs
Recorded On: 09/15/2021
To be recognized as a QDRO, an order must be a ‘domestic relations order. A domestic relations order is a judgment, decree, or order (including the approval of a property settlement) that is made pursuant to state domestic relations law (including community property law) and that relates to the provision of child support, alimony payments, or marital property rights for the benefit of a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of a participant.
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 for an order issued in that proceeding to be a “domestic relations order” or
a “qualified domestic relations order.” Indeed, because state law is generally preempted to the extent that
it relates to retirement plans, the Department takes the position that retirement plans cannot be joined as a
party in a domestic relations proceeding pursuant to state law. Moreover, retirement plans are neither
permitted nor required to follow the terms of domestic relations orders purporting to assign retirement
benefits unless they are QDROs
This session has been approved for one hour of CDFA Continuing Education credit.
Certified QDRO Specialist Certified QDRO Analyst
Tim Voit is the author of Retirement Benefits & QDROs in Divorce (published by CCH), as well as Federal Retirement Plans in Divorce—Strategies & Issues. He has prepared QDROs and valued pensions for nearly 30 years and taught at the International College courses specific to the preparation of QDROs. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and has has been qualified as an expert witness in both state and federal courts.
Mr. Voit has been retained in legal malpractice cases by the insurance carrier to reverse QDRO transfers and/or compute damages and is often called upon to lecture on liability issues. He has been interviewed and quoted in Forbes, BusinessWeek, NewsWeek, and Rueters. Mr. Voit has developed online courses for CCH, IOMA, and the International College, specifically the Introduction to QDROs in Divorce and Effectively Drafting QDROs in Divorce.