Deciding who should pay the retainer to divide retirement plans can be contentious, but refusing to pay can put you at risk for violating your court ordered divorce settlement. Although it may not seem like it initially, both the participant and the alternate payee have very good reasons to invest in a professional to perform this service.
For the participant, our retainer is an investment in ensuring that your plan is properly and fairly divided. The participant is the party who would assume all tax penalties. Hiring an attorney with experience in this field is the best way to manage that risk. Elizabeth Strasen will also be able to discuss what exactly you are signing, how it impacts your plan going forward, and will be there to stand behind the QDRO if needed.
For the alternate payee, our retainer is an investment that will pay itself back many thousands (if not tens or hundreds of thousands) of times over. Without a properly completed QDRO, the money will never be put into the alternate payee's name, which means they can't control it or spend it. Alternate payees can lose all right to the money if the participant dies after termination of marital status, but before completion of a QDRO. Alternate payees many times must make elections within the QDRO, because the benefit is being transferred into their name for the first time. Elizabeth Strasen is able to answer questions or concerns you may have, so you truly understand what you are agreeing to, as many of the decisions the alternate payee makes within the QDRO are irrevocable.
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