Once we have all of the information we need from you (if we need more information, we will ask you for it), we will send a draft QDRO to you (and your attorney if applicable) and to the Plan (if allowed) for review.
Once everyone is satisfied, we will send you the final document that you can sign and submit to the Court. Once the Court has signed the Order (you may want to also get a court certified copy in addition to the original), then the original or certified copy will need to be sent by you to the Plan Administrator for execution of the Order.
Important: on some public sector plans (particularly Colorado PERA and some County Government plans) you must have your signed Court Order to the Plan within 90 days of your divorce being final.
You will each then receive communication from the Plan Administrator that they have received the order.
In the rare circumstance that the Plan needs a change to the Order, we will prepare any amendments free of charge. You will then need to have the court sign the new Order and resubmit the new Order to the Plan.
On defined contribution plans. The alternate payee will receive forms from the Plan Administrator asking what they should do with the funds that are being transferred. You can almost always leave the money in the plan in the account they set up for you, transfer it to another qualified or individual retirement plan, or take cash. You will have to pay income tax on the amount cashed out. Typically the Plan will withhold 20% for taxes. If you have no other earned income, then you may be able to have the plan withhold less tax, depending on the amount you are withdrawing.
On defined benefit plans (eg pensions), you should receive some information from the Plan about their rules, including when you will be eligible to start taking the benefit. Read these carefully, and file them away safely, as you may need this information when you are getting close to retirement age. Make sure you keep the plan informed of your current address.