When there is a divorce or a legal separation that takes place between a married couple and the need arises to divide the payout of the retirement benefits for one of the parties due to that legal action, there is need to satisfy the requirements of the QDRO form. This term stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order and the purpose of this action is to grant partial ownership to an alternate payee for the payout of the benefits accrued by the other party in the marital dissolution or separation action.

The need for a QDRO form is something that arises quite frequently and there are very specific conditions which must be satisfied in order to get the paperwork approved and the payouts to begin as desired. The use of this sort of form is needed only if the retirement benefits in question are from a private sector source. There exist other actions that are used in the case of a military pension or government retirement benefit that may fall under these same circumstances.

The first requirement to get the QDRO form properly is that it is initiated with a judge’s decree that creates the legal force to allow the pension benefits to be paid to an alternate payee. This order will originate in the state’s domestic relations or family court where it will be signed by a magistrate or judge, depending on the jurisdiction. The court order is taken to the benefit plan administrator to be reviewed for the proper criteria and then put in to force if it meets all of the guidelines.

The QDRO form may be satisfied by the language contained within the marital termination agreement, if it is clearly spelled out and if it meets the guideline requirements for being qualified. In some cases, there may be a separate court order that spells out the division of the retirement benefits and will be submitted to the retirement plan administrator without need for the entire marital termination agreement language.

Some of the alternate payee options are spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent of the pension plan participant and their court order would need to name them specifically as the payee.

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