Retirement Benefits: Key Points Family Law Attorneys Should Know

February 10, 2017 qdrobenlaw No comments exist

What should every family law attorney know about retirement benefits? What are the different types of retirement benefits? Why divide with a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO)? How does the family law attorney ensure survivor benefits? Does it matter whether the plan is a public or private plan?

These questions have been presented to me as a QDRO attorney on a regular basis in my twenty-plus year practice. My intent in this article is to help the family law attorney navigate and issue-spot through this complex area of law. I will focus on plans governed by federal law under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 as amended (ERISA), but I will also discuss briefly federal employee and military plans.


  • ERISA and QDRO Basics
  • IRAs and SEP IRAs
  • The Importance of Correctly Identifying the Plan
  • Defined Contribution Plans
  • Defined Benefit Plans
  • Survivor Benefits and Federal Public Plans
  • and more

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