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When Can You File a QDRO After Divorce? When Should You File a QDRO after Divorce? 

Is there a time limit for filing a QDRO? Ideally, it should happen contemporaneous with your divorce, with the terms being prepared and negotiated during your property settlement division. During that time, the terms and details can be discussed and negotiated. Some QDRO terms, for example survivor benefits rights are often waived if not negotiated and awarded through your marital settlement agreement.  

What are the risks in delaying the entry of the QDRO? 

If you are the alternate payee/non-member spouse (i.e. the recipient of the benefits of the QDRO) it is important to protect your interests that the QDRO gets entered as timely as possible. For example, if the member passes away, some plans will not allow a post-death division of a pension or other retirement account. Generally, the best practice is to file any needed QDROs as close to the entry of the divorce decree as possible.  

Is there a Time Limit to Getting a QDRO Entered? 

Federal law does not impose a time limit to file a QDRO, but some states may have a limit. Any time a QDRO is not completed and entered in a timely fashion, there is some risk placed on the parties. Parties should not assume that the other party will simply take care of this task. The beneficiary risks the most with a delay, including that the participant retires (i.e. begins collecting a portion of the other party’s entitled funds), passes away, withdraws funds, takes out a loan, or rolls over the funds to another account. Any of these actions have the potential to limit or prevent the recipient party from receiving what they are entitled to.  

Can you Write Your Own QDRO? 

You may be able to find a sample form and prepare it yourself, but you almost certainly should not. Whether you hire our office or another QDRO specialist, it is crucial to making sure your interests are fully covered, that an experienced, knowledgeable legal professional prepare such a vital, crucial document.  A QDRO expert attorney will make sure the document is prepared correctly without errors. If the requirements of the plan are not met through the document, the plan may reject it. Even worse than the plan rejecting the document, however, is if the document is not written correctly resulting in you losing out in thousands of dollars of benefits you would otherwise be entitled to, or worse yet, losing out on all of the value of the retirement account due to the documents not being appropriately prepared.  

If you need a QDRO prepared, regardless of whether it’s been a day or ten years since your divorce judgment was entered, reach out to us at Pingel Family Law to assist you with preparation. Put our expertise, knowledge and skill to work for you in getting this final, but vital step of asset division completed.  


"I have known Attorney Pingel for more than fifteen (15) years. Mandee is a lawyer I consider a respected colleague. She has a reputation for being intelligent, knowledgeable about the law, well-prepared and kind."

- A Lawyer in Liberty, Missouri