Danielsen Westhoff, PC

Experienced Family
Law Attorneys In Your Corner Fighting For Your Interests

Negotiating the division of retirement assets in divorce

Working out matters related to property division and other financial obligations in divorce cases requires careful negotiation and planning. Splitting up assets can be complicated in practice, and parties may need to be flexible in coming up with an acceptable agreement.

For instance, a couple may negotiate the division of retirement assets to satisfy family support or property division obligations. This can work well for some couples, but it is important to ensure retirement funds may be transferred without any issues.

Do not forget the QDRO

A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is a court order which allows a retirement plan participant to establish an alternate payee who may receive some or all of the participant's retirement benefits. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1774, assignment of a retirement plan's interests is not ordinarily permitted, but there is an exception for cases where a qualified domestic relations order is used. Property division in divorce is a common context for the use of these orders.

A QDRO must meet certain requirements in order for a retirement plan administrator to honor it. First of all, a QDRO may only designate a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent as an alternate payee under the retirement plan. The order itself must also contain specific information, including:

  • Name and mailing address of the retirement plan participant and each alternate payee;
  • Dollar amount or percentage to be paid to the alternate payee; and
  • Number of payments to be made or the period of time over which the order is effective.

There are certain limitations as to what a QDRO may require of a plan administrator, and it is important to be aware of these when negotiating and setting up the order. Also, it is up to the administrator of the retirement plan to make an initial determination about the qualified status of a domestic relations order.

A QDRO may be part of a divorce decree or property settlement, but this is not required under the law. For couples who have retirement plans at issue in divorce, it is important to be aware of these requirements and each retirement plan administrator's process.

Working with experienced legal counsel can help to ensure your interests are protected when negotiating retirement plan interests. It is often necessary to ensure everything is done correctly when finalizing the QDRO.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Schedule A Meeting Today

When faced with divorce or a child custody dispute, you may feel paralyzed as you grieve the loss of a relationship. But you need to take action. Once we take over the legal issues, you will be able to move toward a new normal.

To schedule a free initial appointment with one of our skilled lawyers, please call 720-739-1770. Sending us an online message is another easy way to get started.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response

Broomfield Office
10901 W. 120th Avenue
Suite 120
Broomfield, CO 80021

Phone: 720-739-1770
Fax: 720-739-1765
Map & Directions

Denver Office
50 S. Steele Street
Suite 250
Denver, CO 80209

Phone: 720-739-1770
Fax: 720-739-1765
Map & Directions

Golden Office
14143 Denver West Parkway
Suite 100
Golden, CO 80401

Phone: 720-739-1770
Fax: 720-739-1765
Map & Directions

By appointment only By appointment only