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How do I file a QDRO when representing myself?

Dracut, MA |

Do my ex and I both need to sign the Qualified Domestic Relations Orders before filing it with the court? How do I file it? Is there a fee to file it?

I am representing myself. I've gotten the QDRO form from my employer and am contacting my 401K company with one last question.

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Attorney answers 3


You should use caution when preparing a QDRO — they are powerful instruments, and it would be best to have it reviewed by attorney before submission to the court.

If you are lucky, your pension fund administrator will have a comprehensive recommended QDRO that you can use as a template (if the fund does not have specific recommended language and format, you should not attempt the filing on your own).

Complete the template using the division of assets as prescribed by the court, either through adoption of your settlement agreement or by judgment. You will have to have the completed QDRO approved by the Fund Administrator, particularly if you make any changes to the template. Once approved by the administrator, and signed by both parties, you can motion approval by the court — administratively, which would not require an appearance. The court approved QDRO should then be forwarded to the Pension Fund office.

This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.

Justin Lee Kelsey

Justin Lee Kelsey


This is a complete overview of the process to have a QDRO approved and submitted properly. I would only add that it might be worth having a QDRO expert review your draft, and most charge a reasonable flat fee.


Sorry to be this blunt, but you really shouldn't attempt to do a QDRO on your own. Our office even uses a special law firm where all they do are QDRO's. Be careful, and take care.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


I also hire an expert to prepare QDROs. He is local - in Billerica. QDRO's are extremely important and need to comply with various Federal rules and regulations, i.e. ERISA. Generally the cost is minimal. It will be a few hundred dollars, but it is well worth it.

As Attorney Mason has stated, once the QDRO is prepared and you have received confirmation from the plan administrator that it complied with their rules and regulations, you can then administratively have it approved by the Court. You can easily do that on your own, but I would NOT advise you to complete the QDRO on your own.

This response is for informational purposes only and not intended to be legal advice; nor is this answer intended to create an attorney/client relationship. Legal advice and an attorney/client relationship can only be rendered after a full in person consultation has been conducted with an attorney wherein all necessary facts and circumstances are disclosed. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the within response may be different.

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