New in 2013-2015
Why So Important
What It Is
Divorce Prop Div
Avoid 10% Penalty
Fed TSP E & Loss
Use for Support
Division & Timing
Colorado Retirement Plan QDRO Preparation by an Attorney
Usual Fees: $275 for 401(k), 403(b), 457, PERA; $350 for pension plans (nonunion)
What is a QDRO?
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a divorce court order to divide retirement plans and transfer a portion to the non-owner Spouse. A QDRO can also be used in Colorado to collect past-due child support and maintenance (alimony) payments.
A QDRO is the only way that a retirement plan (other than an IRA) can be split between the plan Participant (owner) and an Alternate Payee (spouse getting the QDRO account) without any adverse income tax consequences. An Alternate Payee can be a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of a Participant. This split of retirement assets is accomplished tax-free.
Also, the later distribution from a qualified retirement plan account which was established pursuant to a QDRO can be done without paying the 10% early withdrawal penalty.
A QDRO can also be used to collect past-due child support and maintenance (alimony.)
State government can similar public retirement plans are divided with a similar type of court order, such as a Colorado PERA DRO.
For example, in Colorado, many state employees are covered by a PERA plan. A DRO (which is about the same as a QDRO) is necessary to split a Colorado state PERA plan. However, the DRO must be completed within 90 days after the permanent orders are entered, or PERA will not accept it. Colorado courts have upheld PERA and denied a division of the plan after the 90 days has expired.
Retirement plans which can be divided include ERISA plans, State and Other Government plans, Civil Service and Federal Pensions, and Military Plans.
Usually, IRAs can be divided without the use of a QDRO or DRO, as long as the divorce court permanent orders list the IRA to be divided.
When is the best time to do a QDRO?
Your QDRO should be completed by the time your Decree is signed by the Judge.
Colorado PERA will not accept your QDRO unless it is signed by the Judge and delivered to PERA within 90 days after the Decree. Some Colorado cities and counties are the same.
Also, the Participant usually becomes less cooperative as time goes on. In other words, if two years have passed since the Decree, it is usually much harder to get the Participant to cooperate and sign the QDRO. It becomes another issue to disagree on.
Colorado QDRO Services (usually for a low fixed fee).
We offer the following services to attorneys and spouses who divorce or use a QDRO and/or DRO to divide assets or provide for the payment of child support and maintenance (alimony) obligations, usually for low fixed fees:
- Prepare Colorado divorce QDROs and DROs for all types of private retirement plans, including pension plans, defined benefit plans, 401(k), 457, 403(b), etc.
- Prepare QDROs and DROs for government plans, including state plans such as Colorado PERA
- For government plans such as civil service and federal employee plans, coordinate the plan options with the settlement agreement or permanent orders.
- Coordinate the documents with plan administrators
- Advise as to pension plan matters
- Value retirement and pension plan assets through 3rd parties
The information needed to process a QDRO includes two 1 page forms to download and complete.
Please download and complete these two forms in PDF format: (1) Information sheet; and (2) release and authorization.
The QDRO process is fairly straight forward.
Please ask any questions, but visiting the ask question page or calling (303) 804-9898.
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