Using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to divide assets

In your divorce, you are only worried about dividing assets. Your kids have all grown up and left the home. Both you and your spouse work. You don't have to worry about things like child custody, child support, spousal support and many other issues that usually influence younger divorces.

What you're most concerned with, though, is retirement. It's coming on quickly, and you do not want to lose your ability to retire at the proper time because of the financial impact of the divorce.

One thing to consider is the use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, commonly called a QDRO. This document helps to divide official retirement benefits, which your spouse may not even be getting yet at the time it is implemented.

For instance, imagine that your spouse got a job shortly after your marriage. It had a great benefits program. You counted on that pension for your retirement, so you took a job without a retirement plan at all.

Now, you may feel that you have a right to half of that pension plan. You set up your financial future based on those benefits. If you lose them now, all because your spouse asked for a divorce, you will not have nearly enough time to recover. You cannot make up for the last 20 years in which you sacrificed your own benefits.

If so, the QDRO can assign you a percentage, guaranteeing that your spouse will begin sharing some of the pension with you whenever he or she retires and starts using that retirement plan.

Financial concerns like this are tremendously important and you need to know about all of the options you have.

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