Remarrying After A QDRO Has Been Signed

Attorney Jason HopperQuestion:

If a QDRO has been signed with surviving spouse wording in it (referring to the ex-wife) what rights will my new wife have when I remarry? Does it open a door for my ex-wife to benefit from assets collected in my second marriage?



I do not practice law in the State of Arizona and am basing my response on my understanding of Indiana law.

Often in dissolution of marriage proceedings, the divorcing parties respective 401(k), IRA, Pension or other retirement plans are the largest divisible asset of the marital estate. It is quite common in Indiana to divide these qualified accounts in order to achieve an equitable division of the marital estate.  Due to penalties and heavy taxes associated with early withdrawal of 401(k) or other “qualified retirement plans,” persons receiving an interest in their former spouse’s 401(k) or retirement plans nearly always elect to avoid the withdrawal penalties by making use of a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order” or more commonly known as, a “QDRO” (pronounced “Quah Droh”).

The QDRO (or its step brother the “EDRO” which is used for some governmental employees) is a legal document used to transfer an interest in a qualified retirement plan to another qualified retirement plan. Because every QDRO is different from retirement plan to retirement plan, I cannot give you specific advice as to the ramifications for your specific plan. I would however suggest that you contact the plan administrator for your specific QDRO, as well as an attorney who specializes in domestic litigation.

Because QDRO plans are ripe with tax ramifications, it may additionally make sense to consult with a domestic litigation attorney who holds an LL.M. (Master of Laws) in Taxation, or a domestic litigation attorney who dedicates a significant portion of their practice to QDRO drafting and interpretation.


Jason P. Hopper is an Associate Attorney in the Indianapolis, Indiana office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. where his primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Mr. Hopper is licensed in the state of Indiana – All State and Appellate courts, US District Court Northern District Indiana, US District Court Southern District Indiana, US Bankruptcy Court Southern District Indiana.

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2 comments on “Remarrying After A QDRO Has Been Signed

    Our divorc was 10 ys ago, ex, just stopped paying my spousal support of 1100.00 a month we were married 25yrs. I was a homemaker as well as cared for his paralized mother for a while.I have several health issues. 4 heart stents, type 2 diabetes, 2 major spine surgeries my lower back is caged. Lots of nerve damage, loss of feeling 19 meds a day as osteoporosis. In april no chck as well as may , no phone call or explication. We had been friends since we were 3 and 5. He had easter dinner at my home then didnot pay. He is court ordered to pay through WI childsupport, our children are grown. He also never bothered to file the QDRO for the court ordered pension split which will take place next fall at mandatory retirement from the CPD. What do I do now? Can the court make him sign the qdro? The problem I have with making him pay the support id , he is on a police disability pension, no taxes are with held, so no way to garnish, and income is non taxable, so no income tax interception. Besides the lawyer costs, our divorve cost me over ten thousand, and him about the same because he fought evertthing. The processserver tried 9 times to serve him for the divorce. He wont return a call, nothing, Any Ideas or help would be greatly appreciated

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