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When couples divorce, oftentimes retirement benefits are required to be divided as part of the property settlement, or else for purposes of child support or spousal support. The term qualified domestic relations order refers to a judgment, decree or order that creates or recognizes one party’s right to receive all or a portion of another party’s retirement benefits. In order to be “qualified,” a QDRO must meet a set of specified criteria. Further, the provisions of a QDRO must be carefully drafted to reflect the intent of the parties and to avoid unintended tax consequences. Retirement accounts are often among the most valuable assets that the parties to the divorce own and the preparation of QDROs and division of plans is complex.
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