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QDRO Preparation Attorney in Scottsdale

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A Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO, is a legal order that can help two parties divide retirement savings accounts, 401(k)s and pension plans in a Scottsdale divorce. It can also be used to collect on child support, spousal support, property settlements, attorney’s fees, and more. Guymon Law has years of experience preparing QDROs and helping clients protect their retirement plans. Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your Scottsdale QDRO preparation in more detail during an initial divorce case evaluation in Scottsdale, Arizona.

What Happens to Retirement Savings in a Divorce in Arizona?

Many couples going through divorces and legal separations in Arizona have retirement savings that they’ve built up over the years. During your marriage, you may have been saving your hard-earned money for decades so that you can enjoy a more comfortable retirement. In a divorce, however, you may have to share your retirement savings with your spouse – even if they never contributed to these accounts.

It is common for retirement accounts to become a point of contention in a dissolution of marriage. Arizona is a community property state, meaning that all assets and accounts acquired in a marriage are divided in half during a divorce or legal separation, even if this is not equitable or fair. Arizona is one of only a few states that use this rule.

While your separate property is safe from division, property acquired during your marriage will be split 50/50. This may include money held in retirement savings accounts, pension plans, stocks and bonds, deferred compensation plans, and other retirement assets. However, Arizona’s community property rule does not automatically extend to retirement plans. For this reason, people often depend on QDROs for the division of retirement savings.

What Is a QDRO?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a legal document that can help distribute a retirement plan in the case of a divorce or legal separation. If a judge approves a QDRO and makes it a decree, the QDRO will require a portion of retirement savings to be given to another person in the case of a divorce – such as a spouse or dependent. A QDRO is often used to pay a former spouse a portion of the couple’s retirement savings after a divorce, as it is a more efficient way to divide this type of asset.

A QDRO creates an alternate payee, or a person who has the legal right to a portion of the retirement benefits that the participant earned. In a divorce case, the participant is typically the alternate payee’s former spouse. It allows a former spouse to obtain part of the participant’s retirement plan assets, to be distributed into a new retirement account or rolled into one that already exists. A QDRO creates a predetermined amount of the retirement plan that is given to the payee after the divorce.

For example, the payee may be entitled to 50 percent of the value of the account that was acquired during the marriage. In this case, 50 percent of the plan’s new value would be transferred or rolled over into a retirement savings account for the alternate payee (the former spouse), who would act as the beneficiary. A QDRO can also provide survivor benefits to a former spouse if the participant dies.

What Is Involved in QDRO Preparation?

Most divorce cases in Arizona result in decrees that require the couple to divide the community interest in a retirement plan equally, as well as to equally share the costs of any necessary Qualified Domestic Relations Orders. It is up to the couple to prepare their own QDROs post-divorce. Although not every retirement plan requires a QDRO (it is often not necessary to divide an IRA or SEP account), if you do need one, it is important to prepare this legal document correctly with assistance from a qualified attorney.

A Scottsdale QDRO must comply with the ERISA, or Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as well as any statewide domestic relations laws. Typically, the beneficiary spouse or alternate payee is responsible for contacting an attorney to draft a QDRO document to transfer the retirement funds. Then, the draft is submitted to the administrator of the retirement plan, where it will be reviewed. If accepted, it is submitted to the court to become part of the official divorce decree.

How Can a QDRO Attorney in Scottsdale Help?

It is extremely important to get the documents involved in your QDRO right the very first time. Otherwise, you could face financial penalties and even risk losing your retirement savings. Your retirement plan is a complex marital asset, and a QDRO is a highly technical document that requires a qualified and experienced attorney. Guymon Law has Scottsdale QDRO preparation attorneys who know precisely how to help you with this legal matter. A lawyer can provide many important QDRO services, including:

  • Determining if a QDRO is appropriate for your retirement plan.
  • Correctly preparing your QDRO.
  • Dealing with a more complicated non-ERISA pension plan.
  • Being specific when drafting your QDRO agreement.
  • Calculating adjustments for earnings and losses in the future.
  • Addressing any issues that you encounter with your QDRO.
  • Timing your QDRO correctly to avoid a probate proceeding.

We understand what it takes to create a QDRO and avoid post-decree QDRO problems using highly specific language in the legal document from the beginning. We will take the time to fully investigate your case and work with you and your spouse to agree on critical issues before your divorce is finalized. This can save you time, money and stress related to the division of your retirement plan and other assets. We will do everything that we can to help you protect your nest egg, your rights and your future.

Speak to an Attorney About QDRO Preparation in Scottsdale Today

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is almost always complicated. However, that doesn’t mean it has to become a headache for you during your divorce case in Arizona. The Scottsdale QDRO preparation attorneys at Guymon Law can take over this part of your case for you. We will use years of knowledge, education and experience in preparing QDROs to create a strong legal document that can protect your retirement savings and other assets.

Guymon Law takes the position as a neutral provider that endeavors to divide assets as described in the decree or with the intent of equitable division, as defined by Arizona law. Please contact us for a consultation about Scottsdale QDRO preparation at our local law office to learn more.