Filing a QDRO document is required if you are divorcing and have a retirement plan or account that needs to be divided. You can file a QDRO, or it can be filed by your former spouse. Either way, law counsel is always a good idea.
You may contemplate waiting to worry about your retirement account until
you are a little closer to retirement. Experts however, warn against
this as you may reduce the chances of being able to claim your money as
more time goes by.
You can get started by gathering as much information on yourself, your
former spouse, and your plan as possible. You will also need to have a
copy of your divorce decree. You can then fill out the QDRO with the
help of your legal counsel.
After you have completed your document and looked over it, you will need
to send it to your spouse or former spouse and his or her lawyer for
approval. Neither party needs to sign it before more approval is
received from the plan administrator and the court systems.
Once your plan administrator has received the document, you may be
requested to make changes before your document can be approved. Once the
document is approved, you may then receive instructions on how to
receive your award.
You might have the option to receive your reward all at once, but more
likely, you will be awarded in monthly payments. You may also want to
look into the possibility of rolling your payments into your own 401k,
penalty free. Depending on the plan you have, the cooperativeness of
your spouse, and other factors, you should be able to complete a QDRO
process in two to six months.
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