{2:30 minutes to read}  Are there any times when a couple not planning to get divorced want to enter into a QDRO? 

Believe it or not, I am asked this question quite often and the answer is “Yes.”

For some people, the reason to get divorced is because they want to remarry. That’s an absolute and they will initiate and finalize a divorce proceeding right away.

For some people, the reason to get divorced is closure. They just want to know that the relationship is finished, and will also initiate and finalize a divorce proceeding quickly.

Some couples, however, do not want to get divorced immediately. The most common reason is health insurance. If you’re not divorced, usually you can stay on your spouse’s health insurance plan, which can represent very, very big cost savings. The family coverage usually continues until a divorce judgment has been signed in court.

What these couples will do is sign a separation agreement of some kind, so that their future relationship is clarified but do not finalize a divorce.

With regard to the QDRO, corporate retirement plans give employees the option of submitting a QDRO to the divorce court, but not actually getting divorced. They initiate a divorce case, get the QDRO signed and then discontinue the court case.

If down the road, they decide that they want to make the divorce final, for whatever reason, they can proceed — but they don’t have to revisit the QDRO. It is a “done deal,” and is not redone.

Couples whose retirement plans are governmental, whether federal, state, or city government, must wait until they get divorced to enter into a QDRO. They do not have the option of securing the QDRO when they are only separated.

QDROs are complicated legal documents with many facets to be considered. If you would like to speak with me regarding a QDRO, please contact me at 845-638-4666.

Steven L. Abel, Esq.
101 South Broadway
Nyack, NY 10960
(P) 845-638-4666
(E) [email protected]