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QDRO: An acronym some divorcing spouses might want to know

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2014 | Child Support

A recent Forbes article cites data from the United States Census Bureau indicating that, sadly, the financial terms of divorce agreements are honored less than half the time by ex-husbands.

That can understandably lead to a high level of angst and frustration — as well as outright financial hardship — on the part of a payee spouse who is not duly receiving what was agreed to as amounts for child support, alimony or other obligations.

In today’s blog post, we will introduce what divorce author and Forbes commentator Jeff Landers calls “an increasingly important tool for collection of past due [and even future] support payments.” That tool, which most people know by its acronym shorthand of QDRO, can serve as a very effective mechanism for ensuring receipt of court-ordered payments. We sketch some of its essentials immediately below for our Florida and other readers and will follow up with a bit more detail in a second post later this week.

Fully phrased, QDRO stands for “qualified domestic relations order.” Judges most often use QDROs to assign all or some portion of a former partner’s retirement assets to a payee spouse.

That comes with one proviso, namely, that a QDRO can be used only to order receipt of payments from a company-sponsored retirement plan such as a pension vehicle or 401(k). Individual retirement accounts re beyond the reach of a QDRO order.

One attorney who works routinely with QDROS notes that such orders can be very helpful for their ability to have money directly assigned by a court, thus bypassing the need for a payee spouse to deal with a recalcitrant or otherwise troublesome ex-partner. That attorney says that a QDRO can be “a tremendous tool to ensure fairness” in some divorces.

We will explain why — and how — in our next blog entry.

Source: Forbes, “How to get your ex-husband to honor the financial terms of your divorce settlement,” Jeff Landers, Feb. 19, 2014