What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)?
The QDRO is a court order for dividing the pension as an element of property between the employee and the non-employee spouse. It dictates how retirement benefits are divided and paid to respective spouses in a divorce. Because of strict filing requirements by federal law, guidelines by the Retirement Equity Act (REA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), state domestic relations law, differing plan requirements, and issues such as survivor benefits, cost of living, and early retirement, many attorneys find drafting a QDRO to be a difficult, time-consuming and frustrating process.
In addition, there are other court orders such as MCOs, COAPs, DROs, ADROs etc., for plans not subject to ERISA. These concern military, federal civil service, local and teacher pensions, which present their own set of challenges.
Since the term QDRO has become a generic term, just about all specialized Orders are referred to as QDROs in a generalized discussion context. The actuaries at Pension Analysis Consultants have drafted thousands of court orders for all kinds of plans based on their specialized knowledge and experience.
Mark K. Altschuler, M.S., Actuary, is President of Pension Analysis Consultants Inc., of Elkins Park, PA. and has prepared over twelve thousand marital pension valuations and draft QDRO’s for counsel. He is well-versed in the complex arena of equitable distribution in marital dissolution matters. Mr. Altschuler, has over fifteen years experience as an actuary in the pension and property/casualty areas, and is an affiliated member of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA).