A very important part of our job is to give our clients the opportunity to understand what the actual implications of the QDRO will be. In certain situations, clients are surprised or dismayed to learn that the results they want from the QDRO will not be achieved automatically. The most common problem is giving accurate credit to the participant for separate property contributions.
Here's an example: if you have separate property in your account from either pre- or post-marital contributions, your company's plan does not necessarily give you credit for this automatically. And it isn't just a question of the total value of the contributions, because those contributions continue to incur gains or losses on a daily basis. People can change jobs and roll money into different accounts, receive annual contributions from companies when their date of separation was mid-year, or take out loans. Companies can go bankrupt, change their plan contract, or change their financial record keeper. All of these complications are much more likely to occur if the retirement benefits are not divided as part of or directly after the divorce. While it may be possible to draft a QDRO that ignores any issues involved in your case, this will end up resulting in either a failed QDRO or a QDRO that executes a division that is inequitable.
That being said, some cases really are very straightforward. If your case is simple, then the total billed to you will be lower. There is no minimum cost, so you'll only end up paying for as much work as your case requires. Likewise, if you discover that your case has complications and you don't want to invest in having an attorney like Ms. Strasen calculate the community property in your plan(s), we can refer you to an actuary, or draft a QDRO to execute whatever alternative agreement you and your ex-spouse come to on your own.
Please see our Terms & Conditions for the limitations on relying on this information.