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A look at dividing a couple's retirement accounts in a divorce

Sacramento residents who are looking for a divorce may be interested in some information about one important aspect of property division: retirement accounts. Dividing these particular assets requires a certain type of order from a court or other agency, which must contain certain information to be valid.

When a couple divorces while holding retirement accounts, these assets may be split up in the property division phase of the divorce. In order to make this division official, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order is necessary. This is a court or administrative order that establishes an alternate payee's right to funds in those retirement accounts. This could give them the ability to receive all or some portion of the benefits of those accounts, depending on the specifics of the order and the wishes of the parties.

There are some requirements in order for a QRDO to be valid. First, the only people who can have the status of alternate payee under a QRDO are a spouse, a child or other dependent, or a former spouse of the account holder. The order must include specific information, including the names and addresses of the parties, the name of the retirement plan, the portion allotted to the alternative payee and the time period or number of payments that the QRDO is valid for. Without these and certain other requirements being met, the QRDO may not be recognized by the plan administrator.

Understanding the complexities of a QRDO and other complex property division issues may be difficult without the assistance of an attorney. The attorney may be able to walk a spouse who is considering divorce through the process and address any concerns they may have. The attorney may then be helpful in representing that spouse throughout the divorce.

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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