A divorce judgment often awards a portion of a retirement plan from one spouse to the other spouse. Many retirement plans require a separate judgment or order that implements the retirement division stated in the divorce judgment. That separate judgment or order is often referred as a Domestic Relations Order (DRO). A DRO must be consistent with the divorce judgment, state law, federal tax and retirement laws, and the plan’s requirements. Because of the wide variety of retirement plans and the irreversible potential problems that result if DROs are not done properly, it has become a legal specialty.
Do you need a retirement plan divided?
The easiest way forward is to email me your case number and anything else you'd like me to know. I will provide you a quote for my fees. If all parties are organized (including the retirement plan) the process will take 3-4 months.
Retirement benefits generally cannot be garnished or "assigned" to another person. An exception to this rule is a Domestic Relations Order pursuant to a divorce. Retirement plans can have vastly different requirements and options; each plan must be learned on its own merits to be properly divided in a divorce.
Defined contribution plans (401(a), 401(k), 457, 403(b))
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
Private pension plans (there are thousands of these plans)
State pension plans (each state is different)
Federal retirement plans (CSRS, FERS, and others)