I was divorced in 1986 and was awarded 50% of my ex-husbands pension, I was told my the pension co that I need a Quartro form to be signed by the courts. How do I go about this and what are the fees. I am unemployed at the moment but would like to collect the pension as soon as my ex files for the pension at 60.
What you need is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). You will need to hire a lawyer to prepare this specialized Order. Typically, you will need to provide the lawyer with a certified copy of your Final Judgment of Divorce, any Marital Settlement Agreement you entered into with your spouse as well as other required information about your ex-husband's employer, etc...
The QDRO lawyer will typically contact the pension administrator's office to obtain all the terms and conditions relating to your ex-husband's pension account. Then, based upon those terms and conditions the QDRO lawyer will draft a QDRO which will need to be reviewed by your ex-husband's divorce lawyer and/or your ex-husband if your ex-husband was unrepresented. If the draft is approved by your ex-husband's lawyer or your ex-husband, then it is sent for the Pension Administrator's review.
Thereafter, if the QDRO is in compliance with the terms and conditions of the pension, then it will receive preliminary approval by the pension administrator who will notify your lawyer. After pension administrator approval is received, then your Rhode Island divorce attorney will need to go into family court (your divorce file may have to be re-opened) and the court must approve of and sign the QDRO. Thereafter, the clerk of the family court will enter the QDRO on the records of the family court after the judge has signed it.
Next, you or your Rhode Island divorce attorney must then provide a certified copy of the signed and entered QDRO to the pension administrator who will then follow the Order in accordance with the the QDRO's terms and you will receive whatever pension funds you are entitled to as set forth by the QDRO and in accordance with the terms and conditions of the pension.
Please note that this QDRO should have been done long ago. This process can take anywhere from three to eight (8) months so you should not expect to receive anything right away. Also, you should speak with your divorce lawyer so you understand what you are entitled to.
You may be expecting 50% of the payment your ex-husband is entitled to receive at the time he is entitled to receive his pension payments but that may not be what you are entitled to. Anything after your divorce would usually be considered non-marital, therefore, what you are entitled to is most likely 50% of what the marital amount would have been in 1986... not today.
You should anticipate that this may cost you upwards of $1,000 or more, especially if your divorce matter needs to be reopened by the court. Reasonably speaking this should be a cost that you would be expected to bear because it is an order that benefits you and removes monies from a benefit in your husband's pension to be apportioned to you.
My best of luck to you with this task. I suggest you seek out the services of a lawyer who specializes in preparing Qualified Domestic Relations Orders. You should be aware that QDROs are not run of the mill orders that are easily drafted. They can be extremely complicated and rather lengthy at times.
If you need a referral to a qualified attorney who drafts QDRO's, please do not hesitate to contact me at (401) 632-6976 or email me at RhodeIslandDivorceCoach@gmail.com.
Christopher A. Pearsall, Attorney-at-Law
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