Quatela Chimeri, PLLC

A QDRO could play an important role in New York divorce cases

Once a spouse announced that he or she wanted to end the marriage, it may only have taken a short amount of time before each party started trying to decide how to get what he or she wants from the legal process. There are many aspects to divorce, and property division often causes many individuals to feel the most stress. Understanding marital property, separate property, distribution laws and necessary forms can seem overwhelming.

In particular, retirement accounts may prove difficult to split. Some New York readers may think that these accounts are off limits, but unless that decision was made through a mutual agreement between the divorcing parties, such as with a prenuptial agreement, retirement funds could be divided. Of course, because retirement funds typically remain out of reach for even the account holder, dividing them early can take extra effort.

Luckily, it is not impossible to split 401(k) accounts. A qualified domestic relations order will be needed in order to name the receiving party as an alternate payee. The QDRO may be drafted by one party's attorney and then sent to the administrators of the retirement account. Once approved, the QDRO can go into effect, and the funds can be distributed in accordance with the divorce settlement or judge ruling.

It is not unusual for individuals to feel as if they missed out on property or otherwise did not get the divorce settlements they desired. In hopes of working toward what they want, New York residents may want to ensure that they understand how asset division laws could impact their cases and when QDROs or other documents may be needed. Enlisting the assistance of experienced attorneys could help concerned parties better understand what to look out for during this time.

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

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