As you get into identifying the assets within your marriage, you will eventually need to discuss what to do with your retirement accounts. It is not possible to divide certain accounts between two people because you have to follow the rules of the plan. In this instance, you will need the court to issue a qualified domestic relations order.
According to the IRS, a QDRO is a court order that allows the company managing the retirement plan to give money to someone other than the plan owner. It handles the legal aspects that prevent you from just dividing the plan yourself. This order is only retirement accounts and payments to you or a dependent.
Using a QDRO
The court can use a QDRO for a few different things within a divorce. It can use it as part of the property division aspect of your divorce to give you your portion of the retirement plan. It can also use it to order your spouse to use retirement plan money to pay alimony or child support.
Information in order
For a QDRO to be valid, it must contain your name and the name of your spouse. It also must include your addresses. The court should also specify the amount of payment under the order. The court may do this by stating a specific dollar amount or by using a percentage. The benefit you receive from the order cannot be outside of what the retirement plan offers. For example, if the retirement plan is worth $100,000, then the court cannot create an order paying $300,000.