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Do I need to have my QDRO filed in court & signed by the judge?

Jacksonville, FL |

I had a divorce several years back. In the agreement and final order it awarded me a share in his retirement plan. Now he is about to retire, so I contacted the company. They sent me back a notice saying that the final order was not sufficient and provided me an example order, asking me to type it like their example to be allowed by IRS code.

I admit looking at my final order and their example, my final order was very "bare minimum." If I type up this order, do I send it back, or do I file it with the clerk for the judge to sign first?

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Attorney answers 3


Dear Jacksonville,

I practice divorce & family law in New Jersey. The requirements for a QDRO are typically the same nationwide in as much of the guidelines governing this type of distribution are based on federal law. Every QDRO I have prepared or had prepared ultimately had to be signed by a family court judge before the retirement fund would act.

I would suggest you consult with a family law attorney in your state.

Good Luck,

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Once you prepare the order you will need to send it over to your ex for his approval. If he has no objections to the wording of the QDRO you drafted you should send it to the Judge with a cover letter stating that you have enclosed a proposed QDRO for the Judge's approval and that the opposing party has no objection to the entry of the order. You should include 3 copies of the proposed order and a self addressed stamped envelope for yourself and your ex so that the judge can send the signed order back to you. Once you receive your copy back you can send it to the retirement plan company.


It appears all that was entered in the initial case was a "final judgment of dissolution of marriage," which mentions the retirement account to be split by separate QDRO. The final judgment is not enough. Sometimes final judgments recite that the court reserves jurisdiction to enter the separate QDRO. The Plan Administrator must approve the form of the order.

At this stage, because some time has passed and the file may be closed, you may need to file a supplemental motion with the court, providing notice to your former spouse, and request that the court enter the qualified domestic relations order.

It would be best for you to consult a family lawyer in Duval County to make sure this is done right. If you were represented in the initial proceeding, and were pleased with the services of your attorney, that might be the place to start.

Good luck!

This post is (1) intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion and (2) reflects the views of the participant only and not of the law firm.