Charlotte Qualified Domestic Relations Order Attorneys
Assisting North Carolina clients in dividing retirement assets in divorce
A divorce isn’t just the dissolution of a marriage. It also involves splitting up property, assets and debt. When a couple divorces, they typically go through a process called equitable distribution. During equitable distribution, the court divides marital property in a fair and equitable fashion. Often, retirement accounts are one of the larger assets that need to be divided.
In cases like these, spouses may need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to split up the assets. A QDRO can be time consuming, requiring a great deal of information and approvals. The Charlotte high asset divorce attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC can consult with you to determine whether or not a QDRO is right for you, and assist you in securing one. Contact us today to find out how we can help.
What is a QDRO?
According to the IRS, a QDRO is “a judgment, decree or order for a retirement plan to pay child support, alimony or marital property rights to a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent of a participant.” In other words, during your divorce, the judge signs a QDRO, which determines how eligible retirement plans and pensions are divided between spouses. Typically, both spouses mutually agree to a QDRO and the order directs the plan administrator to make payments to the other spouse’s retirement account.
You can find more specific information from your local IRS office, located at Five Resource Square, 10715 David Taylor Drive, in Charlotte.
Every couple’s retirement assets and needs are unique, so every QDRO should be unique as well. Court orders must be written thoroughly and properly in order for you to receive your fair share and protect yourself from unnecessary tax burdens. Our Charlotte divorce attorneys have decades of experience in drafting North Carolina QDROs, and can help you with yours.
What are the benefits of a QDRO in a Charlotte divorce?
QDROs provide many benefits, and should be considered when either you or your spouse has a pension or retirement plan. A signed QDRO means that the fund remains as retirement savings, but now serves two individuals rather than one person or a married couple. Many divorcing couples prefer a QDRO because it helps avoid tax liabilities. It’s true that pensions and retirement plans are protected from most tax consequences in the first place – but if your divorce settlement includes receiving funds from one of these plans, the government may see it as taxable income.
If money has to be taken out of a retirement or pension for a divorce settlement, you will likely have to pay fees or penalties. QRDOs can help prevent these fees, as they are court orders regarding the division of assets according to North Carolina divorce law.
What are the requirements and process for a QDRO in Charlotte?
A QDRO must contain specific information. Your divorce attorney can help you gather this information, make sense of it, and include it in your QDRO. Your Qualified Domestic Relations Order must include information like:
- The name, Social Security # and address of the holder of the accounts and the beneficiary of any payments
- The dollar amount of benefits from the account to be paid to the new recipient
- Any relevant payment details – payment amount, form, and frequency
Without the proper information, a court will not sign a QDRO.
Do all of my retirement and pension accounts qualify for a QDRO?
No, not every retirement account qualifies for a court order – only retirement and pension plans covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). QDROs are only available for these types of employer-provided retirement plans:
- 401(k) plans
- 403(b) plans
- 457 plans
- Profit-sharing plans
- Money purchase plans
- Employee stock ownership
- Tax-sheltered annuities
Note that QDROs typically don’t apply to retirement and pensions provided by the military, but military personnel do have remedies via tools like Retirement Benefits Court Orders or Orders Dividing Military Pay. Non-employer retirement plans can be settled with a well-designed settlement agreement.
Why should I use a Charlotte attorney for my QDRO?
QDROs are not one size fits all. Every retirement and pension plan is different, and every divorcing couple’s needs are different – marital property can include 401(k)s, pensions, profit sharing and stock ownership. Upon reaching retirement, one plan might make a lump sum payment or another plan might pay out monthly. Your QDRO must be designed in a way that’s consistent with your and your spouse’s existing plans.
Drafting a QDRO requires someone who understands the ins and out of retirement plans, pension law and the terms of these types of accounts. Not every divorce attorney has this kind of expertise. Remember, even if you’re far from retirement age, your divorce settlement sets the stage for your future financial situation. Without a proper QDRO, you can lose your right to benefits when your former spouse retires, remarries or passes away.
The attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC work to protect those rights, ensuring a secure future for you and your family.
Knowledgeable Charlotte QDRO attorneys
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders require specialized knowledge and detail in order to be successful. At Epperson Law Group, PLLC, we put our decades of experience to work for you in securing a QDRO and receiving the benefits to which you’re entitled. Contact us today. Our offices are just minutes off the NC-16. To reserve a consultation with one of our lawyers in Charlotte, Boone, or Weddington, please call 704-321-0031 or fill out our contact form.