This is our process for drafting the language for an order:
- We will draft language for the order to conform to the agreement, the Instructions for (Qualified) Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO) form, and the plan’s requirements and procedures. Please note that upon receipt of the necessary information and retainer, we will begin drafting an order as soon as we are able. We must have all the appropriate section(s) of the instructions form completed and signed. If you are not using the form, all the required information must be supplied in one instruction letter. If you do not know how to respond to the questions on the form, please contact us for assistance. If an answer on the form does not concur with the terms of the property settlement agreement, we will draft the order in accordance with the terms of the agreement unless we are presented with a joint agreement stating how to draft the order otherwise.
- Because each plan requires specific language or provisions to be included in an order and it is not until a Plan Administrator approves the language of an order (even if it is already signed by a judge) that an order can be implemented, we will submit the draft order for preapproval to determine whether it could be implemented as a valid order or whether it requires revisions before it will be accepted. If we are informed that the order requires revisions, we will revise the order and send it for preapproval again. Some plans do not allow this preapproval step. We do not send for preapproval DROs for New Jersey state pensions (PERS, PFRS, TPAF, SPRS) and deferred compensation plans, federal Thrift Savings Plan, federal pensions, and military pensions. If there are any objections to the instructions submitted, we expect them to be raised at the time we receive the documents. If modifications to a draft order need to be made because objections are raised after a draft, prepared according to the instructions we have received, and has been sent for preapproval, there will be an additional fee to make revisions.
- After the Plan preapproves the draft, we will send the draft order to the attorneys or self-represented parties with a letter explaining its provisions and how to proceed. It is the responsibility of the attorneys or the self-represented parties to make the draft into a formal order, submit it to the court, and then forward it to the Plan for implementation.
After we obtain all the information we request, we will prepare and release your order as quickly and efficiently as we are able. The length of time this process takes varies depending on a number of factors including how long it takes for the Plan Administrator to respond to us. We will follow-up on a preapproval request approximately one month after we send a draft for review. Once we receive preapproval, we will promptly forward the draft. Because it is rare for the process to take less than one month, we ask that if you must check on the status of an order, you refrain from doing so until at least one month after we are supplied with the information and fee required to complete a draft. It is our expectation that represented parties will contact their respective counsel should they have any questions regarding this assignment as this will enable this office to complete the required order in a more timely manner. If represented parties do contact us, they are expected to keep their attorneys apprised of the substance of the information exchanged. We reserve the right to charge at our hourly rates if the scope of the assignment expands beyond the steps in the process outlined above or if a party’s calls or emails require responses. As we cannot provide legal advice, all legal questions must be directed to an attorney.
If you have any questions regarding the above, please feel free to contact us.
To review our current fee schedule and access our credit card authorization form, click below.
If you would like to complete the Instructions for QDRO Form,