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Can I file Qualified Domestic Relations Order without paying an attorney to represent me in the divorce?

Dallas, TX |
Filed under: Divorce

I can't afford to pay for an attorney to represent me in a divorce (unless I found a bartering attorney that needs some clerical/administrative work done), but I would like to still be able to split my husband's 401k that he contributed to during our 8 year marriage. Can I file a Qualified Domestic Relations Order while we do a divorce without attornies?

Attorney Answers 4


You can file a DRO after the divorce is finalized if the 401k is divided in the decree. You do not need a lawyer to get to that point but DROs are frequently drafted incorrectly without the assistance of counsel.

The qualification is performed by the plan administrator.

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If you can agree on everything else, you can likely retain an attorney solely for the purpose of drafting a QDRO-- they usually do these for $300-400.

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QDROs are very tricky and very specific language has to be used. Even attorneys who don't do them all the time have trouble with them! I would be very surprised if a non-attorney could draft one that would be approved. Our firm charges $450 per QDRO. If your husband makes more than you, you can probably get the court to order him to pay for your divorce attorney, definitely for the QDRO. Talk to a local attorney who focuses on family law.

DISCLAIMER: This answer is for informational purposes only under the AVVO system, its terms and conditions. This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship. I am admitted only in Texas. I am not intending this to be legal advice, because I don't know the particulars of your situation. Call me if you would like to discuss this or other issues, 210.501.0880.

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You could but I wouldn't. It has to be approved not just by the court but also the plan administrator. I'd have a professional do it to get it right.

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