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What happens when QDRO fees are not paid.

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It is a frequent problem when completing a divorce case, that where there are retirement benefits to divide, one of the parties fails to pay their portion of the drafting fees, and the QDROs do not get completed. Completing the QDROs (qualified domestic relations orders) is essential for the protection of the non-employee spouse, to make sure that they receive their 50% share of those benefits. It is also important to have the QDRO’s drafted quickly, completed and filed with the plan administrator. So, what can you do when your former spouse, for weeks or  months on end, refuses to pay?

  1. The obvious answer is to file a contempt motion with the court. However, it may not be the quickest solution to the problem. Courts are busy, and they have a tendency not to give priority to post judgment matters. In some counties, you might be looking at a court date in 4 months to have your motion heard. That’s a long time to wait when time is of the essence of having the QDROs drafted. Certainly, filing a contempt motion and asking for costs and fees is the proper initial procedure where the other party has been court ordered to pay some or all of the preparation fees, and fails to cooperate with the process. It may not be the quickest remedy however.

2. Another possibility is to simply pay the processing fees yourself and than go after your ex spouse   later in with a contempt motion. If the processing fee, by example is $600 and you have paid your $300, paying the other half, will secure that the QDROs get timely processed. You can always file a contempt motion down the road and seek reimbursement of your $300 that you paid to have the QDROs completed, but this insures that the documents will be drafted timely.

Neither remedy is fair in the scheme of things. It is wrong that the other party doesn’t do what they are suppose to do, but where you are the non employee spouse and you want to insure that the QDROs get properly drafted to secure your 50% interest in the plans, you are forced to do one of these two procedures to make sure the documents are completed.

For more information about this article, contact Karp & Iancu, S.C.

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