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Weinberg & Schwartz , L.L.C. Motto
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Columbia Retirement Orders Lawyer

When couples get divorced they must decide how to divide their property. Retirement benefits (pensions) are often one of the largest marital assets the parties have in addition to the marital home. Like other assets, pensions may be transferred from one spouse to another in cases of divorce to the extent that part of the pension was acquired during the course of the marriage.

A wide range of retirement benefits are considered marital property including government (federal, state, and local) retirement plans, private plans, private company pensions, 401(k) plans, 403Bs, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), TSPs, FERS pensions, Maryland State Retirement pension plans, Military pension plans and other such pension plans.

In order to divide the benefits under these plans, the parties must submit the appropriate Court Order to a Judge for signature and entry. The exact name of the order will be governed by the type of plan that one party is a beneficiary of, such as a private or government plan. The most common order for private pension plans is called Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A QDRO is a specific type of domestic relations order that recognizes the rights of a spouse, also known as an alternate payee, to receive a portion of the pension plan belonging to the other spouse. Note all pension plans are called QDROSs and each plan has a specific name, depending on the type of plan the spouse obtains benefits under.

The court can also order the garnishment of a retirement account to pay a child support or alimony obligation.

A QDRO must comply with specific rules under federal law in order for it to be valid. The QDRO must be issued by a state authority (usually a court) through a judgment, order, or decree, which addresses the property settlement. Not all domestic relations orders qualify and will be permitted to divide a pension plan. The plan administrator, an employee of the plan, reviews and accepts the QDRO after it has been determined that the QDRO is a valid Qualified Domestic Relations Order acceptable for processing.

Help With Retirement Orders in Howard County and Beyond

For help with retirement orders in a Maryland divorce, call Weinberg & Schwartz, L.L.C. at 410-997-0203. We represent clients throughout Maryland, but especially Howard County communities such as Columbia, Ellicott City, Fulton, Maple Lawn and Clarksville.

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