What does QDRO mean? (pronounced quadro)

The acronym stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order. According to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a judgment, decree or order that creates or recognizes the existence of an alternate payee’s right to receive all or a portion of a plan participant’s benefits under an ERISA-qualified employee benefit plan.

That means if you were married and are now getting divorced, you may have the right to recieve all or a portion of your spouse’s benefits pursuant to State and Federal laws. However, QDROs are very tricky to navigate. For instance, if the Order is not properly worded or requires the plan to do something that the plan participant is not eligible for, the plan administrator can reject your QDRO. It is very important to call the plan administrator at the start of the divorce process to get their exact requirements for QDRO’s. And before you have the judge sign the order, send it to the administrator to review.

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