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Hoge Partners, PLLC
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Louisville, Kentucky 40202
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Division of Retirement Funds, Pensions, IRAs, 401(k)s with QDROs in Kentucky Divorces

Retirement Funds and Other Deferred Income

Aside from equity in the parties' home, the biggest asset many couples have are their retirement benefits.

If a person has been working at Ford, GE, etc. for 20 years, he or she will likely have accumulated a fairly sizeable amount of money in their pension, retirement plan, defined benefit plan, employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), defined contribution plan, savings & security plan, 401(k), annuity, etc.

Marriage during all or part of the employee's tenure likely will make some or all of these funds marital in nature.  Portions of the funds may be non-marital.

A qualified Family Law attorney should be able to explain to you what portion, if any, of your retirement or your spouse's retirement should be characterized as marital.

Certain retirement benefits (such as Kentucky public school teachers) may beexempt from division as a marital asset.  Again, your attorney should be able to discuss this with you in greater detail.

After settlement is reached or a decision obtained from the Court, it may be necessary for one of the parties' attorneys to draft a Qualified Domestic Relations Order ("QDRO"), which must be approved by the opposing party, then by the employer's Plan Administrator and, finally, submitted to the Court for entry as an official Order.  A certified copy of the QDRO then needs to be delivered to the Plan Administrator for implementation.

See the U.S. Department of Labor's publication on "The Division of Pensions Through Qualified Domestic Relations Orders" atwww.dol.gov for general information on this subject.

Properly crafting a QDRO is a very tricky task and should only be undertaken by a fully qualified Family Law attorney.  The QDRO usually cannot be finalized until after the Decree of Dissolution has been entered.

QDRO drafting requires the application and incorporation of both state and federal laws pertaining to equitable distribution of pensions.  It is a unique area of practice.

Our office refers to outside counsel the task of drafting QDROs or COAPs (the federal employee equivalent for CFRS and FERS, known as a "Court Order Approved for Processing").  The fees for preparing QDROs is usually $500 to $800.