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Three Important Questions About a New Jersey QDRO

A New Jersey qualified domestic relations order, also known as a New Jersey QDRO, is defined by law as being a judicial order that is part of property division in a divorce case. A New Jersey QDRO splits or divides certain types of retirement or pension plans as a result of a recognition of joint marital ownership interests. In other words, a QDRO in New Jersey is the legal instrument through which an interest in a certain retirement or pension is set aside as part of the resolution of property issues in a marriage dissolution case.

A qualified domestic relations order applies only to retirement of pension plans that are subject to a specific law. A QDRO only is used when such a plan is subject to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act or ERISA. This is the law that governs private sector pension or retirement plans.

What Information Must be Included in a New Jersey QDRO?

In order for a New Jersey QDRO to be effective, the instrument must contain certain elements. If one or another of these elements is not present, a purported qualified domestic relations order will not be deemed effective. The components that must be present in a QDRO are:

  • Name of the plan participant
  • Name of the alternate payee (participant’s spouse)
  • Address of plan participant
  • Address of alternate payee
  • Name of the plan to which the order applies
  • Dollar amount of percentage of benefit to be paid to alternate payee
  • In the alternative, formula for determining that percentage
  • Number of payments to be made
  • In the alternative, time period during which payments will be made
Who Needs a QDRO in a New Jersey Divorce Case?

As noted above, a QDRO may not necessarily be needed in your case. The best way to ascertain what may or may not be required is to retain the services of an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney, like a member of the legal team at the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400. You will be in need of a QDRO if you desire to divided any of the following types of plans:

  • 401 (k)
  • 403 (b)
  • 457 plan
  • Tax-sheltered annuities
  • Corporate defined benefit or pension plans
  • Employee stock ownership plan
  • Profit-sharing plan
  • Thrift plan
Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer to Prepare a QDRO?

The stark reality is that the proper preparation of a New Jersey qualified domestic relations order can be one of the more complicated legal tasks in a marriage dissolution case. One misstep in drafting such an instrument can have what may amount to catastrophic consequences. As a result, you most definitely should not “go it alone” if a QDRO is necessary in your divorce case. Indeed, more broadly, you best protect all of your vital interests by hiring an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer.

Retain an Experienced New Jersey Divorce Attorney

The first step in retaining an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney is to schedule a free initial consultation with a marriage dissolution lawyer from the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen. You can reach our firm at (201) 845-7400. We will schedule an initial appointment and case evaluation any time that is convenient for you.

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