Why did you come to this website?

1. Divide a retirement account as part of a divorce

2. Speak to someone about a retirement account (not related to a divorce)

3. None of the above

Need a QDRO prepared in Alabama?


Online QDRO Preparation by an actual QDRO attorney.

Dividing retirement accounts during or after a divorce can feel overwhelming. If you need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and don't know where to start, SimpleQDRO can help!


Toll Free Customer Support:
833-970-0999
Mon-Fri 9am - 6pm EST

What's a QDRO?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a type of court order that complies with certain requirements of federal law in order to divide a retirement account. A QDRO may be used: to establish marital property rights to a spouse or former spouse, to pay alimony to a spouse or former spouse, or to recover past-due child support.

Ordering Process

SimpleQDRO says it all, we make this process simple
Step 1: Begin process by clicking the “Get Started Now” button
Step 2: Fill out our QDRO form and complete payment
Step 3: We'll email you when your custom QDRO is ready to download. (within 1-3 business days)

JUST $399 PER QDRO

Get your QDRO done in 1-3 business days. No hidden costs!

Unlimited revisions until the QDRO is accepted by the Plan Administrator and the court

What's included in every order?

QDRO (or equivalent retirement division order)
QDRO Addendum - you provide dates of birth and social security numbers in a separate document so this information is secure and only ever submitted to the Plan Administrator. You don't have to worry about the security of your information with SimpleQDRO, because we don't ask for it!
Step-by-step Instructions
Sample Cover letters for: Pre-approval, Submission to the Judge, and Qualification

Interested in discounts?

As a bonus, SimpleQDRO offers volume discounts for customers who need multiple QDROs. For customers interested in volume pricing, we offer:

1st QDRO

$399

QDROs 2-5

$389

each

QDROs 6-10

$349

each

QDROs 11 and up

$299

each

View volume discount pricing

Types of retirement accounts

1. Defined benefit plans (pension plans)
a. Traditional
b. Cash balance
c. Money purchase
2. Defined contribution plans
a. 401(k) plans
b. Profit sharing plans
c. 403 / 457 plans
d. TIAA / CREF
e. Employee stock ownership plans (ESOP)
f. Individual retirement account (IRA)
3. Collection of past due child support
a. From a defined benefit plan
b. From a defined contribution plan
4. Federal government plans
a. Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)
b. Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
c. Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)
5. Military retirement
6. Railroad Retirement (only Tier II Benefits are divisible by DRO)

Why choose SimpleQDRO?

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15+ years expertise
We have years of expertise preparing and processing QDROs for all types of retirement plans.
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Unlimited revisions
Until the QDRO is accepted by the Plan Administrator and the court.
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Remove the stress, fear & guesswork
We'll take the worry and guesswork out of this process.
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100% money back guarantee
In the event that the use of SimpleQDRO results in a QDRO that is not accepted by a Court or Plan Administrator as a result of deficiencies in our service, we will provide a full refund.
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QDRO attorney review
Unlike other services, at SimpleQDRO a real attorney reviews your documents and will continue to work with you as needed until your QDRO is approved by the Plan Administrator.

What other people are saying about SimpleQDRO

Customer real names were abbreviated for privacy.

After having several legal professionals moan (quietly) when QDRO was mentioned, I was starting to fret. Looked it up on-line and there it was: SimpleQDRO. $299 and 30 to 40 minutes of screen time and it was done. The courthouse clerks were impressed with the document, as was the judge. He accepted the QDRO and the application for divorce at the same time. I was told that this is rare. Since it was presented in a straightforward and legal format we were able to save the court and ourselves time. Thanks to the team at SimpleQDRO.

Eric H.

I found SimpleQDRO on-line after pricing attorneys for $1500-$2000. They handled my paperwork in a day and Brad was in contact with me daily to check the status. I am extremely pleased with the courtesy, professionalism and quick response time in handling my QDRO. I am recommending everyone who needs one done through divorce to use your services. Thank you for making this process so quick, easy and inexpensive. Great job.

Ann.

Great service, simple and easy process, answered all my upfront questions very quickly and I had the QDRO document in hand within a day. This service saved me significant time and money in getting this drafted with no hassle! Recommend.

Hannah H.

Highly Recommend! The process was straightforward and staff responsive to my questions. SimpleQDRO knows the laws and covered the bases to avoid delays or Judge rejection. They guided me through each step with the empathy & compassion needed after getting bad recommendations from two attorneys. I was awarded 100% of my Ex's Pension per our Divorce Decree.

Lisa F.

I was told an attorney would charge $1500 to $1800 to process my QDRO. I did it myself with SimpleQDRO for $299. When I submitted my first form to Charles Schwab, there was a mistake. (My fault.). So I sent their letter to SimpleQDRO, and they corrected my mistake at no extra charge. SimpleQDRO gives you the forms to fill out and a list of steps to get the process completed. I highly recommend their service!

Quincy N.
YOUR Testimonial will go here soon!

Blog

What is a QDRO?
What is a QDRO?
Federal Law requires a QDRO to be in place for certain retirement plans to be divided. No matter how amicable the split, the effort of going through and fairly splitting assets in a divorce can be a veritable minefield. So much so that people often forget about things like retirement assets and end up paying the price in penalties and taxes later on.

For many people, retirement accounts will be the largest assets to be divided, and it's vital to understand how this kind of financial apportioning works.

In all cases, it's best to make sure you have the right information at hand, and to ensure that you are getting the best advice for your situation. We've created a guide to highlight areas for to consider when dividing your retirement plan(s) – whether a 401(k), pension plan, or other defined benefit or defined contribution account.

What Is A QDRO?

A QDRO (or “Qualified Domestic Relations Order”) is a type of court order – typically entered in a divorce action – that is a federal requirement to divide certain kinds of plans. They are used to help divide 401(K)s, pension plans, as well as a variety of other types of retirement accounts covered by the federal Employees Retirement Income Security Act, and sometimes even Individual Retirement Accounts (or “IRAs”. If a retirement plan is covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), then a QDRO is the only legal way to transfer your share of the fund without the risk of incurring significant taxes and penalties. However, it is important to discuss how you plan to access those funds with a financial advisor or accountant before you do so in order to ensure that you are not accidentally creating a significant tax bill.

According to a 2016 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey, dividing 401(k)s and similar types of accounts have been ranked as the most contentious item for 62 percent of divorces. For example, one party may suggest a trade in negotiations: trading a house or car in lieu of the other party getting a share in the retirement account. In this case, a QDRO may no longer be needed, but there may be a significant difference in the “cash” value of the car or house and the “pre-tax” value of the retirement account. It is advisable to consult with both an attorney and a financial advisor so that you have expert advice for valuing the assets to be split in your divorce.

When exploring which portion of the benefits are eligible for division, the court will look at the contributions made to the retirement fund throughout the course of the marriage. Typically, the dates will run from the date of the marriage to the date of your separation, or date of divorce. However, this is not uniform across the country – or even within individual states – so it's important to get accurate advice from an experienced attorney in your jurisdiction.

What does a QDRO Do?

If you withdraw money from your retirement account before you are 59 ½ years old, federal law imposes a 10 percent penalty. There are certain exceptions to this, and one such exception is when a transfer is made during divorce proceedings pursuant to a QDRO.

A QDRO provides protection you when money has to be transferred from your retirement account to your ex-spouse. Not only that, but a QDRO can also provide for survivor benefits should the Participant pass away (in the case of a pension plan). However, if the Participant dies before a QDRO is in place, you may lose any right to your portion of the retirement assets.

As such, timing is critical and it's important to complete your QDRO as quickly as possible following your divorce.

Get Your Information

If your split is an amicable one, you may find that your former spouse can provide you with all of the information about their retirement assets. However, as a spouse, you do have the legal right to get information about the retirement plan of your former partner. In order to get hold of this, you should contact your attorney or the administrator of the plan to request the necessary information.

It's good to know the description of the plan (known as a “Summary Plan Description”), the benefit statements, and any other necessary associated documents. Many plans will also provide a sample copy of the plan's “Model QDRO”. No two plans are identical, but knowing the format that the plan prefers can make life easier down the line.

You may find that your former spouse or the administrator of your spouse's plan are less than forthcoming about the information you need. If you're having difficulties finding the contact details for your ex-spouse's plan provider, the FreeERISA website will help you track down the most recently filed Form 5500, as well as all of the details for who it is you need to talk with. You can also speak with your attorney about your options to help gather the necessary information.

How Is a QDRO Prepared?

Typically, you'll find that the judge is the one to decide whether or not you're to be awarded any portion of your former spouse's retirement assets, or it will be apportioned via settlement. SimpleQDRO can then draft the QDRO to be forwarded to the judge for signature.

The QDRO will then be submitted directly to the plan's administrator for review and qualification. The order won't be “qualified” until it has been accepted by the plan administrator. Once accepted, the plan administrator will divide the account at issue into two separate accounts: one in your name, and one in the name of your ex-spouse. The administrator will then provide notices to all interested parties, detailing any available options for rollovers, disbursements, beneficiary elections, etc.

The Takeaway

The best way to ensure that the process is as effortless as possible is to gather all of the information that you need as soon in the divorce process as possible. Initiating the QDRO process during early days of the divorce and/or during settlement negotiations means that the court is likely to be able to finalize the divorce and sign off on the QDRO at very much the same time.
Do I Really Need a QDRO?
Do I Really Need a QDRO?
After months and possibly even years of tense negotiations or emotionally and financially draining litigation, you have your divorce Decree in hand. You are divorced. But is your divorce really FINISHED? If your divorce Decree includes a transfer of retirement accounts, then answer is probably “No.” You are not done – yet.

You're likely thinking: “Wait! What do you mean I'm not done?!”

When dividing retirement accounts, you will almost certainly need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to complete the transfer of retirement assets. There are some exceptions to this requirement, but even those exceptions typically require a similar order to permit the transfer. But why?

The most common retirement accounts, such as 401(k) and private pension plans, are governed by the Employees Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (more commonly referred to as “ERISA”). This law restricts your ability to access or transfer those retirement accounts – except under very specific circumstances. One of the exceptions is when the transfer of assets is pursuant to an award of marital property rights or spousal support in an action for divorce. But even then, a special type of order must be entered by the court and submitted to the Plan. ERISA refers to this type of order as a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order” – or “QDRO”.

A QDRO is an order that contains specific language necessary to complete the division of the retirement account(s) in question, while complying with ERISA. Without a QDRO, the Plan Administrator will almost certainly deny any request to transfer funds – even if you provide a copy of your divorce decree. Occasionally, a Plan Administrator may transfer funds without a QDRO in place – but BEWARE – if that happens, one of the parties is potentially in store for a very big tax bill. Other retirement plans, such as federal government retirement plans, military retirement plans, railroad retirement, as well as some state and local government plans may not be subject to ERISA specifically, but will require a similar (and very specific) retirement division order.

So, do you really need a QDRO? If you have to divide retirement accounts as part of your divorce decree, then the answer is almost certainly, “YES”. At SimpleQDRO, we make that process simple: you provide us with the necessary information and we provide the QDRO (or equivalent order) for your particular plan, along with step-by-step instructions for getting your QDRO approved by the Plan and executed by the court. In the unlikely event that your QDRO is not approved, SimpleQDRO will make any necessary revisions at no cost to you until the QDRO is accepted. We cover all 50 states and provide all of this for only $399.00. No hidden fees. No gimmicks.

If you have questions, or would like to get started, visit us at SimpleQDRO.com or feel free to contact us at
[email protected]. We want to help make this process as simple as possible.
Your QDRO is Ready - Now What!?
Your QDRO is Ready - Now What!?
When you're going through a divorce, a retirement fund is a significant marital asset. A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) grants a person a right to a portion of the retirement benefits of a former spouse.

It's easy to overlook a QDRO in the midst of all the other considerations of a divorce proceeding, but it's vital to make sure you fairly divide all assets – including future retirement funds.

If you were wise enough to get your QDRO drafted during your divorce process, congratulations! You're one step ahead of many others. However, there are still some steps to take to get your order processed and executed by the court.

Here's what you need to do.

1. Print the Document

You'll want physical copies of both the QDRO and the QDRO addendum. Once you print them, you'll need to fill out some additional information, as well.

When you look at the documentation, you'll see you need information for the “participant” and the “alternate payee.”

The participant is the person who earned the retirement benefit, and the person designated to receive part of the benefit is the alternate payee. With this in mind, fill in the social security number and date of birth for each party.

2. Send the QDRO and Addendum to the Plan Administrator

A qualified domestic relations order cannot go into effect until it's approved by the retirement plan. That's when it truly becomes “qualified.”

To get the process going, you'll send the documents to the plan administrator address that is provided. You'll also need to create a brief cover letter asking the administrator to review the proposed order for pre-approval.

The review process by the retirement plan staff will take about 30 – 45 days, so be patient. However, if you haven't received any correspondence from the plan administrator within 30 days, be sure to reach out and make sure they got the documents.

3. Get Additional Signatures

Generally a plan administrator will accept a well-written QDRO. In the unlikely even that it's rejected, you'll want to reach out to SimpleQDRO right away for assistance.

Any administrator that rejects a QDRO has to provide a clear explanation for the rejection, including information on what needs to be done to make the order acceptable.

We'll look over the documentation and find out what the concerns are. Once the concerns are addressed, you can send the documentation back to the plan administrator for a new review.

However, most of the time the QDRO will be accepted and you can move on to getting the necessary signatures. Both parties and possibly the attorneys will need to sign the pre-approved order.

4. Submit the Signed, Pre-Approved Order to the Court

Once you've finished the steps above, it's time to put the qualified domestic relations order on file with the court. Submit the signed QDRO to the judge by mailing it to the court, along with a cover letter explaining that you'd like the order executed and filed.

You can get the address for submission by contacting the clerk of court. Be sure not to send the QDRO addendum to the court! They only want the pre-approved order, not additional paperwork.

Once the judge signs the qualified domestic relations order, you will want to get a court-certified copy so that you can finalize the order with the plan administrator.

5. Send the Court-Certified Copy to the Plan Administrator

Once you have the court-certified copy, you'll need to send it with the QDRO addendum back to the plan administrator.

Remember, the addendum does not get sent to the court, but it does get sent to the administrator with the court-certified order.

You'll need to include another brief letter asking the plan administrator to review the certified copy for qualification. This review process takes another 30 – 45 days.

6. Finalize the Transfer

When the administrator finishes the review, they will send you a notice of qualification. At that point, you have a fully qualified domestic relations order.

Congratulations!

However, keep in mind that the plan administrator may provide additional instructions that you will need to follow to finalize the transfer.

Can You File a QDRO After Your Divorce?

Sometimes you didn't think to get a QDRO during your original divorce process, but you realize that you should have done so.

The good news is that it's not too late! Even if it's been years since your divorce, you can still get a qualified domestic relations ordered drafted and approved to fairly divide the retirement assets. You'll need to follow the same process discussed above once the QDRO is prepared.

If your spouse is not communicating with you or is not willing to share details about the retirement plan, you can contact the plan administrator directly. That way you'll be able to find out what that specific plan requires for a QDRO, and you'll discover the financial details you need to draft the order.

You can ask for:

• The plan document and plan summary description

• The participant's benefit statements

• A copy of the plans model for a QDRO if there is one

• A copy of any other QDRO that might affect the participant's plan

You'll need legal assistance to get all of this information, of course. Your lawyer can draft the specific legal requests that the plan administrator will honor.

Once you have the documentation, you can work directly with SimpleQDRO to get your order drafted quickly and easily.

A former spouse is entitled to a portion of the retirement assets even if it has been many years since the divorce. A former can also gain benefits after the retirement disbursements have begun, although they will only apply to disbursements that come after the order is finalized with the plan.

Don't overlook one of the largest assets that's involved in a divorce. Whether you are in the process of a split or divorced many years ago, a QDRO can help you fairly divide retirement assets.
See more

The SimpleQDRO Leadership Team

SIMPLEQDRO TEAM
Brad Macdonald

Brad Macdonald

President
Mr. Macdonald is licensed to practice law in the state of Georgia and is a Member in Good Standing of the State Bar of Georgia; a member of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia; and the Family Law Section of the Cobb County Bar Association. Mr. Macdonald has been selected as a SuperLawyer™ by his peers and holds an “AV Preeminent™” Rating with Martindale-Hubbell. Mr. Macdonald is also a member of the University of Richmond (VA) School of Law and Emory University Alumni Associations and attends Hillside United Methodist Church of Woodstock, Georgia.
Professional Associations and Memberships
State Bar of Georgia
Family Law Section, Member

Cobb County Bar Association
Family Law Section, Member

University of Richmond (VA) School of Law Alumni Association

Charles Longstreet Weltner
Family Law Inn of Court, Barrister
Education
J.D., University of Richmond
The University of Richmond (VA) School of Law

B.A., Emory University
Majors: Political Science, Sociology
Sina Eghrari

Sina Eghrari

Chief Technology Officer
As a technologist, Sina’s interests involve finding streamlined solutions for solving complex problems. Sina’s responsibilities at SimpleQDRO include building and maintaining this website you’re visiting right now. So if you find anything broken on this website, or if you find something confusing, please feel free to send him an email directly at [email protected].
Education
B.E., Georgia Institute of Technology
Major: Electrical Engineering

M.S., Georgia Institute of Technology
Major: Computer Science
Monika Atighechian

Monika Atighechian

Director of Operations

With over 20 years of experience in Client Management, Operations and Customer Support, Monika’s expertise on the day-to-day handling of our operations is key. Her attention to detail with our customers' cases and oversight of our support staff ensures that our team fulfills your order with efficacy and accuracy. If you have any questions regarding our process or service, contact her directly at [email protected].
Education
B.A., Georgia State University
Major: Broadcast Communications/Journalism
Minor: Psychology