Filing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order post-divorce

divorce attorney Jill DuffyQuestion:

My late husband’s ex-wife was awarded a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) of a set amount of his retirement account. I am to receive the balance of that account as the named beneficiary.

However, she plans to submit the QDRO when the account is at an economically depressed level so she will collect her share and there will be nothing left for me.

Can I force them to submit the QDRO so I can receive the balance of that account?


First, let me preface my answer by stating that I am only licensed to practice law in Michigan. The information in the article is general in nature. You should contact an attorney in your jurisdiction immediately to discuss your options.

In most cases a QDRO should be entered immediately after a divorce is completed. If the QDRO has not been submitted it would have been possible for your husband to file a motion to compel the other side to enter a QDRO.

As your husband’s legal successor, you may have the ability to file this motion on his behalf. However, you personally do not have standing to compel her to do this, as you were not a party to the divorce action.

If you have a copy of the divorce decree you can try to present it to the administrator of the retirement account. Sometimes the language in the divorce decree can itself be a QDRO, but it will depend on the retirement account’s requirements. They may be able to hold the ex-wife’s share in trust and make a distribution to you of the remainder.

Cordell & Cordell represents men in divorce nationwide.


Jill A. Duffy is an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan. Ms. Duffy received her BA in Psychology and Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University. She received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

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