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Understanding qualified domestic relations orders and divorce

| Aug 10, 2020 | Divorce

Couples who have decided that ending their marriage is the best next step have to prepare themselves for all the work required to divorce in Hawaii. Besides the children, finances are the next most important topic to cover, especially for the spouse who did not work and earn an income. Finances are important not just for the present. They also are important for the retirement years.

Professionals in the divorce realm believe that some individuals overlook their spouse’s retirement accounts. A qualified domestic relations order is a special court order. It grants someone access to his or her former spouse’s retirement benefits earned through an employer-sponsored retirement plan. This is something that can be brought up during the divorce proceedings as well as after. Several legal steps must be taken to obtain this special court order. This is one reason why individuals are going to be encouraged to procure the services of a lawyer.

An individual who remembers, or is reminded, to ensure that his or her spouse’s retirement benefits are put into the pot with the rest of the assets must have a QDRO granted to him or her. Otherwise, that person cannot access those funds. There are circumstances when it can be too late to gain access to any of those payments. Therefore, it’s important to file for a QDRO as soon as possible.

After an individual hires a lawyer, the court must be notified. Then the plan must be contacted. Legal professionals have access to far more records and information than the public does, which may help the process go more smoothly. For example, if you cannot find the plan’s information easily, you would have to search for the latest Form 5500. A divorce is already going to be a little stressful. This is one of those things that can be left to the professionals.