FAQ

This booklet is written in question and answer format. Therefore, the entire booklet is, in effect, a summation of the most important FAQ’s relating to the division of retirement plan assets of individuals who are contemplating, or in the process of, getting divorced.

Your purchase of this booklet will yield at least one methodology of positive value not known before by you and your advisors.

In lieu of a traditional FAQ section, what follows is a list of the questions and/or topics which are covered in the booklet.


What do retirement plan assets include?

How are retirement plan assets shared?

How much money is the retirement plan benefit or account worth to each party?

What is a Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) document?

What does the Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) document say about dividing your retirement plan assets?

What is a Domestic Relations Order (DRO)?

What does the Domestic Relations Order (DRO) require?

What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)?

What is the end point for determining the value of retirement plan assets?

My advisor mentioned the valuation method of dividing retirement benefits. What is this?

My advisor said that my spouse has a defined contribution plan? What is that? How is that valued and divided?

What is the tracing method and how does it figure in calculating my potential claim and share of the retirement plan accounts?

What is the subtraction method and how does it figure in calculating my potential claim and share of the retirement plan accounts?

What is the coverture method and how does it figure in calculating my potential claim and share of the retirement plan accounts?

How can I decide which method of dividing assets is best for me?

My advisor said that my spouse has a defined benefit plan and that this is more complicated to divide. How is that done?

What are actuarial assumptions and how are these used?

My spouse has several different types of retirement benefits/accounts. What happens then?

What are the pros and cons of utilizing the Stream of Payments method?

What are the pros and cons of utilizing the Separate Interest method?

Does the Domestic Relations Order (DRO) explain how all of our retirement plan assets are going to be divided?

Are there other things that the Domestic Relations Order (DRO) should take into consideration?

There are so many things to consider and different things for different types of retirement accounts. How can I be sure my advisor and I remember the key points?

CHECKLIST of alternative Domestic Relations Order (DRO) provisions when dealing with a defined contribution plan.

CHECKLIST of alternative Domestic Relations Order (DRO) provisions when dealing with a defined benefit plan.

What items are typically needed to prepare a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)?

What happens when Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are involved?

One of our retirement plans permitted us to borrow from our plan account. What happens now that we’re getting divorced?

What happens when a spouse has a Military plan, or other plan sponsored by the federal government, or a state/local government?

Can my spouse and I include our Social Security benefits when we divide our retirement plan assets?

My advisor mentioned that there are benefit plans called Non-Qualified Plans. What are the rules for these?

My spouse is in a union and has a collectively bargained plan. What happens with this type of plan?

Who pays taxes on these shared benefits and accounts?

My spouse declared bankruptcy. Are there any specific considerations for this?

I live in a community property State. Are there things I should be aware of in preparing the Domestic Relations Order (DRO)?

Are there any States that have specific laws that I should know about concerning Domestic Relations Orders (DROs)?

Are there special considerations for disability or life insurance benefits funded for in a retirement plan that I should know about?

What is the process for dividing retirement plan benefits/accounts?

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“If I hadn’t read this booklet, I would have lost a lot of money! Knowing about QDRO enabled me to give my ex-husband my retirement savings without having to pay taxes on withdrawing that money. Even my lawyer was impressed when I suggested this!” – Amy