Unfortunately, it is often true that clients who delay getting their QDRO done for more than a year after the date of separation (not the same as the date that your status as married terminated) end up incurring higher fees to complete their QDROs. Many of the most difficult and litigious problems that arise in this area of law are the result of QDROs that were not completed in a timely manner.
People can move away, remarry, become ill, shift money, invest poorly, forget their agreements, lose their paperwork, get fired, or take out loans. Companies are bought, go bankrupt, change their plan terms, or change their record keepers. The more time goes by, the higher the potential there is for something to happen that then creates a complication.
Participants who start the retirement process before completing a QDRO can have their retirement payments delayed, or risk serious legal implications if they make the wrong retirement elections. Alternate payees do not have access to any funds or control over their share of the investments until a QDRO goes through. Completing a QDRO long before there is any need to access retirement funds ensures that when you need them, they'll be available to you free from any need to take legal action or risk liability.
There can also be problems when a death occurs after a couple has terminated their marital status, but before a QDRO has been completed. In some cases, the result is the loss of a person's right to receive any retirement benefits. Holding off on completing a QDRO increases the risk that an unexpected death will raise serious legal issues.
It's best to get your QDRO done now, so you never have to revisit the issue again.
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