Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) Overview

What's a Domestic Relations Order?

A domestic relations order is a court order, judgment, or decree issued under a state's domestic relations law. It recognizes the right of the following individuals (referred to as alternate payees) to receive all or part of the participant's account balance or accrued benefit in an employer retirement plan:

  • Spouse
  • Former spouse
  • Child
  • Other dependent of participant

A domestic relations order must be submitted and qualified to become a QDRO.

What's a QDRO?

A QDRO is a domestic relations order that has been determined to meet specific requirements mandated by federal law and the provisions of the retirement plan.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) states that a participant's entitled amount of his or her retirement plan benefits may be transferred to a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent if payment is mandated under a QDRO.