When your divorce decree grants you a portion of a former spouse’s retirement benefits, you should be aware that there are certain time constraints on taking action to get those benefits transferred.
Delays cost money and, in some cases, could prevent you from receiving all or a portion of your benefits.
When you are granted a share of most types of 401(k)s or pension plans in a divorce, the law requires that a certain type of court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) be prepared, signed by the Court and approved by the retirement plan before you receive anything. Getting a QDRO approved can be a tedious and lengthy process, so it’s best to get started on it soon after the divorce.
To make matters more difficult, failing to assert your right to the retirement by filing a QDRO or putting the retirement plan on notice in a timely fashion, can, in some cases, affect your rights to receive certain types of benefits associated with the retirement plan. It can even negatively affect how much you receive if an economic downturn causes losses in the plan in the meantime. Don’t just give up if your divorce attorney does not prepare QDROs and you don’t know where to turn. Call us, and we can help you. Even if your divorce was a long time ago, we may still be able to get you some benefit from the plan. If you never submit a QDRO, you’ll never get anything at all.