Tim Voit, a financial analyst in Bonita Springs and Fort Lauderdale,
In a case stemming from Delaware, a client sued a law firm for failing to implement a QDRO pursuant to the divorce proceedings. In this case, the attorneys waited – or perhaps forgot – to have the QDRO entered, and the husband depleted the funds. The law firm requested a summary judgment, which was granted on two other issues but denied on the issue of the QDRO. The lesson here is to follow through to ensure that the QDRO is both prepared correctly and actually entered.
Not only must the QDRO be entered, but also a certified copy forwarded to the plan administrator. In a malpractice case for which we were retained to compute damages, the attorney prepared a QDRO but never sent it to the plan administrator. When the husband died, the absence of a QDRO meant no distribution to the former spouse and benefits were lost.
Tim Voit is the author of Federal Retirement Plans in Divorce – Strategies and Issues, available through www.vecon.com, and Retirement Benefits & QDROs in Divorce, a CCH publication. Mr. Voit is also the author of several articles on pensions in divorce. For the rest of the article on Federal Pensions, visit www.vecon.com