Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

In Massachusetts, when a divorce occurs, retirement assets typically fall into two categories: (1) assets acquired before the marriage; or (2) assets acquired during the marriage.

In shorter term marriages assets may not be subject to division, however retirement funds acquired during the marriage are generally subject to division and treated as a marital asset. There are no hard and fast rules regarding the division of retirement funds, however, and a skilled divorce attorney may be able to argue to a judge to depart from the conventional wisdom depending on the facts of a particular case.

Retirement funds may require a special court order to divide them pursuant to a divorce. If so, the court will issue a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”) to divide the asset. The QDRO is usually prepared by the parties with the assistance of an actuary. Prior to completion the QDRO is reviewed by the retirement plan administrator. Upon completion of the review process the QDRO is submitted to the judge assigned to the case for court approval and returned to the parties for submission to the plan administrator, who implements the terms of the QDRO.

Attorney David M. Gabriel and his team of lawyers works with experienced retirement and pension appraisers, in order to determine the value of the retirement assets in question, including current values, past values, projected values based upon retirement age and coverture values. Coverture value is legal term used to describe the value of an asset and its proportionate increase or decrease in value based upon market conditions during the course of the marriage.

To discuss your particular situation, please contact David M. Gabriel and Associates to set a consultation.

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