Domestic Relations Order (DRO)
A DRO is a judgment, decree or order for a retirement plan to pay child support, alimony or marital property rights to a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent of a participant. A DRO becomes a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) once it has been reviewed and approved for "qualified" status by the Fund. Unless a court enters a DRO that the Fund determines is "qualified", the Fund cannot make a direct payment to the alternate payee, even though the court may award an interest in benefits to the non-participant.
Notify the Fund
When you receive a DRO signed by the court, it is important to notify the Fund as soon as possible. Failure to report this information to the Fund can delay and even postpone your retirement until the order is reviewed by the Fund for "qualified" status. Because the process to qualify a DRO with the Fund can take from thirty (30) to sixty (60) days, it is important not to wait until your decision to retire to advise the Fund of a DRO for evaluation. The DRO evaluation process needs to be completed before a pension benefit can be paid.
You will need to provide the fund with a certified copy of the DRO from the court. This can be obtained from the clerk of the court that granted the Order. The Fund will not accept a copy of the DRO or a copy of a certified copy of the DRO.
Sample Domestic Relations Order