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How Does a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) in Arizona Affect Retirement?

If you’re getting divorced and have retirement savings, you’ll want to learn about Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs). A QDRO is a legal document that splits up your retirement savings in a way that’s fair to both you and your ex. This can be a complicated process, but we’re here to help make it easier. In this post, we’ll explain how it affects retirement planning in Arizona. Stay tuned for more helpful tips!

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, or QDROs, are court-ordered documents that divide retirement assets between spouses during a divorce. If you have retirement savings and are getting divorced, it’s important to understand how a QDRO can affect your retirement plans.

In Arizona, the laws governing QDROs are found in the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) Annotated. The relevant statutes are ARS 25-318 and ARS 25-319. Under these laws, a QDRO can be used to divide any type of retirement plan, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, pensions, profit-sharing plans, and annuities.

The purpose of a QDRO is to make sure that both spouses get their fair share of the retirement assets. This is important because retirement savings are often one of the biggest financial assets that a couple has. Without a QDRO, one spouse could end up with all of the retirement savings while the other gets nothing.

A QDRO can also be used to divide other types of financial assets, such as life insurance policies and bank accounts. However, the most common use for a QDRO is to split up retirement savings.

It’s important to note that a QDRO is different from a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. A QDRO can only be used to divide assets that have been acquired during the marriage. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, on the other hand, can be used to divide assets that were acquired before the marriage or after the divorce.

If you’re getting divorced and have retirement savings, you should talk to an experienced family law attorney about whether a QDRO is right for you. An attorney can help you understand the laws governing QDROs in Arizona and make sure that your rights are protected.

What If I Contributed To My Retirement Before Marriage; Is It Still Divided Equally?

If you contributed to your retirement before marriage, those assets may not be subject to division in a divorce. However, any growth in the value of those assets during the marriage may be subject to division. For example, if you had $10,000 in a 401(k) when you got married and that account grew to $50,000 by the time you divorced, the $40,000 in growth would be subject to division.

I Have A Pension; Is That Divisible? What If I Earned A Portion Before Marriage?

Pensions are often subject to division in a divorce. However, the portion of the pension that was earned before marriage may not be subject to division. For example, if you have a pension that pays $1,000 per month and you were married for 10 years, your spouse would be entitled to half of the $10,000 per year that you earned during the marriage. However, they would not be entitled to any of the pension benefits that you earned before the marriage.

My Spouse Took Out A Loan From His/Her 401 (K). Will That Affect My Community Interest In The Account?

Yes, if your spouse took out a loan from his or her 401(k), the outstanding balance of the loan will be deducted from the account balances when the account is divided in a divorce. This can affect your community interest in the account because you will be entitled to a portion of the account balance after the outstanding loan is deducted.

What If I Don’t Want To Divide The Accounts; Is There Any Other Option?

In some cases, a couple may decide that they don’t want to divide their retirement assets in a divorce. If this is the case, the couple can sign a property settlement agreement (PSA) that waives their rights to a QDRO. However, it’s important to note that a PSA is a binding legal document, so it’s important to make sure that you understand your rights before signing one. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand the implications of a PSA and make sure that your rights are protected.

Do I Need An Attorney To Divide My Retirement Accounts And Other Assets?

You don’t necessarily need an attorney to divide your retirement accounts and other assets in a divorce. However, it’s often a good idea to have an attorney review any property settlement agreements or QDROs before they are finalized. An attorney can help you understand the implications of the agreement and make sure that your rights are protected.

If you have questions about how your retirement assets will be divided in a divorce, you should talk to an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can review your situation and advise you of your rights under the law.

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The attorneys at GillespieShields are well-versed in a variety of different legal fields, ranging from family law to civil suits, employment disputes and probate cases. Although we specialize in several areas of practice, our greatest passion is family law. We believe in giving families peace of mind no matter their situation, and we fight hard to maintain that peace. Whether you’re filing for dissolution or divorce, determining custody of your children, or thinking about adopting children, our experienced attorneys are here to help you every step of the way.  During our private, one-on-one consultation, we’ll take the necessary time to answer any and all of our questions surrounding Arizona’s family laws, your family’s unique situation, and the possible court outcomes. Contact us today for your consultation!


The materials available on this website are for informational and entertainment purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.  You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this site without seeking legal or other professional advice. The information presented on this website may not reflect the most current legal developments.  No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained on this website and we disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this site to the fullest extent permitted by law.


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