July 14, 2014 By Paul Wallin
QDRO divorce
Is your ex not paying?

You and your ex spouse have finally completed the divorce. The proceedings were stressful and arduous, but it’s finally over. Now that the terms of your divorce settlement have been agreed upon, you can move on with your life as planned, right?

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. One of the most frustrating parts about divorce, even after the proceedings, is when your ex does not honor the financial terms you agreed to. Sometimes he or she will make the first few payments, and then completely stop, or never even pay to begin with.

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) can be a good way to help you avoid this difficult situation.

What is a QDRO?

In community property states such as California, courts divide property between the spouses. This includes the home, rental properties, cars, furniture, stocks, and even retirement accounts.1

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a judgment that can order you to receive parts of your spouse’s work benefits. This includes retirement benefits, pension plans, 401Ks, and other retirement plans. This is one way that the court helps ensure your financial security following a divorce.2

A QDRO can serve as collateral for payments that are past due. A divorce agreement that includes a QDRO can help you secure receiving future payments. This is an effective way of efficiently making sure that you are not left destitute when a spouse unexpectedly stops making alimony payments.

How Does it Work?

A judge can use his or her discretion to order that you will receive funds directly from your ex’s retirement plan, if they decide to stop making alimony or child support payments. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order will essentially secure a dollar amount or percentage of your spouse’s retirement benefits.

The QDRO can also award you a security interest in the case your spouse misses his or her spousal support obligations. As the terms of the agreement stipulate, the court order can also protect you if your ex spouse’s income drops significantly, or if they make risky financial decisions.

How Else Can a QDRO Help?

While a QDRO will help ensure that you receive the money from the final financial agreement, it can also help in other ways. While your divorce proceedings are still going on, a judge can order a QDRO to help you receive temporary support. A skilled attorney can argue for a QDRO if you do not have the funds to pay your divorce team.

The retirement funds from your Qualified Domestic Relations Order can be used to pay for your attorney’s fees. Without an attorney, you would not be able to move forward in the divorce proceedings. Therefore, in a community property state such as California, the attorney’s fees qualify as support.3

Ultimately, regardless of how you and your attorneys decide on using a QDRO, you must understand that there will be certain tax consequences for doing so.

Call the Divorce Lawyers at Wallin & Klarich Today

While you probably hope that your final divorce settlement will bring an end to the difficult process, it is important to know that you are not guaranteed the payments from your ex spouse. This is why having an experienced attorney help you obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order is absolutely essential to ensuring your financial well being. The attorneys at Wallin and Klarich have been successfully aiding our clients in achieving the best outcomes for their divorces for over 30 years.

With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, one of our knowledgeable attorneys is available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

1. http://www.divorcenet.com/states/california/qdro_frequently_asked_questions

2. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jefflanders/2014/02/19/how-to-get-your-ex-husband-to-honor-the-financial-terms-of-your-divorce-settlement/

3. Id.

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