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Property division: Don't forget the QRDO

During the divorce process, the two parties will likely have to settle some matters pertaining to marital assets. In Florida, if two individuals have been married for a significant amount of time, or are older, they may have investments or retirement plans among the accumulated assets. During property division, the proper forms must be filled out to ensure that investments and retirement accounts can be split between the two parties. One such form is called the Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO.

First, it can be easy to forget these long-term types of plans during the separation of assets at the end of a marriage. However, retirement plans can be an important and significant source of income for individuals after retirement age. The QRDO is a court order used to separate certain types of financial accounts such as a 401(k) or a 403(b). The QRDO grants permission for another person, called the alternate payee, to receive a portion of the funds when they start to be paid out. 

During the divorce, the two parties will reveal and discuss the assets and how they will be shared. If the judge's order or the settlement says that one party will be granted a portion of another's retirement account, the court will issue a QRDO. The QRDO will then be filed directly with the financial company holding the account. This form should be drafted in advance of the finalization of the divorce or the recipient could risk losing out on the funds. 

Property division extends farther than the family home and bank accounts. Forgetting about long-term investment accounts can be costly for the individual in Florida facing a divorce. Failing to file the correct forms could mean a big financial pinch in the future. An experienced and qualified attorney typically guides people through the steps of the divorce process, ensuring no details are missed before it is finalized. 

Source: investopedia.com, "What's a QDRO?", Jean Folger, Feb. 26, 2018

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