QDROs Archives > Ferraro Law Group, PL


What Happens When You Mingle Separate Property With Marital Property?

auction houseIn the beginning of a relationship you aren’t likely to put your name on the inside cover of all your books, or make a list of which dishes belong to who. As your relationship progresses, it is relationship leads to a walk down the aisle; it is a sure bet that your DVD collections will share shelf space. If your marriage ends in separation or divorce, what then do you do if you are unable to determine what property belonged to which person before the marriage?

When you file for divorce and have to figure out a plan for distribution of assets, keep in mind that in Florida the distribution is equitable. To make that distribution easier when trying to classify assets as either separate or marital, the following tips are useful:

●… Continue reading

Your Rights Regarding Retirement Plans

retirementAt the conclusion of your divorce, if you expect to receive distributions from your ex-spouse’s retirement plan, you need more than just the divorce decree. You will also need a separate document called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). If your divorce did not include creation of a QDRO, an experienced family law attorney can help you now.

A QDRO is a document that gives a retirement plan administrator the ability to pay the funds of a pension or other qualifying retirement account as ordered by the Court in the divorce case. Our dedicated attorneys fully discuss the facts of your case and can help with QDRO’s by doing the following:

● Contacting the plan administrator for any specific language needed

● Preparing the QDRO in advance of hearings in your divorce case, so it can be presented for the… Continue reading

Dividing Government Pensions in a Divorce when a QDRO won’t work


Most divorce practitioners are aware that dividing a pension or qualified retirement asset as part of the property division requires a few extra steps. Because retirement plans are governed by federal law (as opposed to state divorce law) a standard divorce judgment simply will not do the trick. Instead, the payee of these benefits must submit a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which is essentially a special type of court order which conforms to state and federal law as well as the terms of the Marital Settlement Agreement and the specific directives of the plan in question. Most divorce lawyers outsource this task to a QDRO attorney who specializes in the drafting of these types of orders.

However, problems arise when the pension that is referenced in the divorce agreement is provided by a government employer. This is because government plans (federal, state… Continue reading

You Think You’re Done with the Divorce . . . but don’t forget the QDRO!

Josh2.ashxWe frequently receive calls from divorce litigants who were supposed to receive a portion of their spouse’s retirement as part of their property division. However, when these litigants send their final judgment to the plan they are told that retirement assets (401k plans, pensions, etc.) are governed by federal law and therefore a state-court divorce order is ineffective. You can imagine the consternation that this information causes, particularly since retirement plans are often the largest asset divided in divorce.

Thankfully, we are able to tell these litigants that all is not lost and that, with a relatively inexpensive legal tool we ensure that their money is safely transferred into their possession. This tool is called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or more commonly a QDRO.

In 1974, the Congress enacted the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in order to regulate the benefits that… Continue reading