What is an In Marriage QDRO®?
It is a strategy that combines state domestic relations laws with a federally approved transaction. State domestic relations laws determine how spouses may contract. Federal law sets forth the process by which retirement accounts may be accessed. Retirement funds held in the name of one spouse may be transferred to the other spouse. This process allows access to a participant’s 401(k), 403(b) or pension account, without the restrictions associated with an In-Service Distribution and without the need for another type of qualifying event.
The most common question asked about the In Marriage QDRO®… Does this process meet the guidelines set forth by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Department of Labor? The answer is YES. The In Marriage QDRO® strategy meets all ERISA and Department of Labor requirements.
The Legal Mumbo Jumbo…
The In Marriage QDRO® strategy uses the specific definitions contained in the U.S. Code and strategically applies them to several types of inter-spousal agreements allowed by state law. A QDRO is most widely used in the context of a divorce. However, as written by Congress, ERISA contemplates use of a QDRO by a married couple. Thus, federal law allows for access to retirement plans by a married couple.
There is a multitude of reasons for a couple to transfer funds from a retirement savings to a more flexible investment account. Not the least of which is to pay for college, buy a business or pay off debt. How you use your money is completely up to you. Most importantly, an In Marriage QDRO® allows you access to your savings while avoiding many of the fees, penalties and restrictions associated with taking a distribution that is totally legal and effective.