By Matt Cavallo
As part of your divorce settlement, it may be agreed between you and your spouse that both of you will receive a marital share of your spouse’s retirement account, whether it be a pension, annuity, or some other account.
After the stipulation of settlement is signed, a judgment of divorce that references the stipulation of settlement must be signed by a judge. A domestic relations order should then be prepared by a pension consultant. After that, the pension consultant submits the domestic relations order to the administrator of the retirement account for approval. After approval, the domestic relations order is then sent to the court that issued the judgment of divorce, and the proposed order is hopefully signed by the judge.
After the judge signs the qualified domestic relations order, the signed order must then be sent to the plan. If the plan accepts the order, then the recipient spouse will begin receiving their marital share of their spouse’s retirement account directly from the plan.
The above process can take months or years, and errors, misunderstandings, or miscommunications between the parties can prolong what can already be a long, tedious process. Therefore, it is important that you and your matrimonial attorney remain vigilant in this process to ensure that eventually you begin receiving the marital share to which you are entitled.