When New York couples end their marriages, money in their retirement accounts may be divided as part of a final divorce settlement. If money is being transferred from a qualified employer retirement account, it must usually be transferred per the terms of a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). A QDRO may be created and filed during the divorce proceeding itself or filed months or years after a marriage formally ends.
It is important to note that the order only becomes qualified once it is accepted by the plan administrator Furthermore, it is important to understand that the QDRO is generally separate from the divorce decree. However, in some cases, a divorce decree may meet the requirements to be a QDRO. If an order is filed after an individual retires, it may only impact payments made after the order is accepted.
It is possible for multiple domestic relations orders to be filed on the same plan. However, the terms of the second document will not have any bearing on the terms of the one currently on file. Generally speaking, a QDRO cannot be rejected simply because it was filed after the person who participated in the plan passed away. Regardless of when the document is filed, it cannot mandate a payment type or frequency that is not allowed per the terms of the retirement plan.
New York property division laws generally require a court to allocate assets acquired during a marriage in an equitable fashion. In some cases, assets brought into a relationship must be divided in a divorce settlement. An attorney may be able to help a person obtain a home, money in a retirement account or other joint property.