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Retirement division (QDROs)

Split your nest egg with care.

Quick and Careful QDROs

The most common question we hear from prospective QDRO clients is this: “How quickly can this be done?” (Answer: it depends.) A more important question is how carefully can it be done?

We get it. After going through the hell of divorce, most people are in a hurry to sever ties as quickly as possible. Some need access to their retirement account funds as well – for legal bills or just to jumpstart their new lives. Though we have no control over courts and plan administrators, we promise to not let your file needlessly idle.

And, of course, we’ll handle the division of your retirement account as carefully as possible, making sure that the qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) divides your accounts as you and your divorce attorneys intended.

A Division Order for Every Plan

Defined Benefit Plans (Pensions)

Pension plans are the least understood of all retirement accounts. Many lawyers and their clients assume that the value on the statement is what the plan is worth (very incorrect) and that the value of the plan can be cashed out immediately after divorce (very often incorrect, and even if you can cash it out, it is typically a terrible idea).

Pension plans also carry unique concerns related to survivor benefits and separate versus shared interest payouts that are often overlooked in the divorce settlement language. These seemingly small factors can make or break a retiree's Finances and can cost them a lifetime of payments if they are not addressed correctly.

Defined Contribution Plans (i.e. 401ks)

Defined comp plans are a lot easier to understand: cash in + stock market gains and losses = your balance.

However, these can be even harder to divide than a pension because depending on state law, you may have to trace out premarital and postmarital contributions, plus the stock market gains and losses on those specific contributions, to make sure that both parties get their fair share of the account - it is not nearly as simple as "divide the balance of the plan in half."

Military Retirement Plans

I could talk for hours on the complexity of military retirement division — and I have, teaching classes about it to other lawyers. Depending on the date of the divorce settlement, the servicemember's spouse may end up with far less than he or she is entitled to under state law due to the new restrictions on direct pay from the military.

In addition, the Howell U.S. Supreme Court case limits a military spouse's remedies if the servicemember Is awarded a disability benefit after a retirement division order is entered — making it extremely important to address that possibility in the divorce settlement itself.

Federal Retirement Plans

CSRS or FERS, TSP or LMNOP (okay, that one is fake), we prepare division orders - known as Court Orders Acceptable for Processing (COAPs) for federal retirement plans.

State Retirement Plans

If the alphabet soup of retirement plans is driving you insane, just wait until we start talking about state plans. Some states are reasonable, like KPERS - which covers nearly all Kansas public employees - while other states are insane, like CALPERS, CALSTRS, LACERA, OCERS ... California easily has dozens, many dozens, of state and local retirement plans.

State plans are not governed by federal retirement law, so they have their own state and local rules and regulations that must be adhered to — making them a particularly poor fit for an Internet template or a self-representing divorcee's attempt at DIYing a DRO. (Yes, because federal law does not apply, most state plans call their retirement division orders DROs instead of QDROs. That'll win you trivia night some day, I promise!)

Other Plans

Whether you need help splitting an IRA or a Railroad Retirement System (RRS) plan, if you don't see it listed, reach out anyway and we'll discuss your options - there are far too many plans to list them all here.

Legal Pro QDROs

We draft. You file. Lawyers and paralegals only.
$ 300 Per QDRO/DRO
  • You handle signature gathering and filing with the courts.
  • For Lawyers & Legal Professionals Only
  • Review of Divorce Decree
  • Private, state, and local plans
  • Drafting of QDRO
  • Plan Pre-Approval
  • Text (SMS) and Email Updates
  • Attorney Licensed in Your State

Flat Rate QDROs

Most state and local plans.
$ 900 Per QDRO/DRO
  • Review of Divorce Decree
  • Most state and local plans
  • Drafting of QDRO
  • Plan Pre-Approval
  • Guided Court Filing & Execution
  • Text (SMS) and Email Updates
  • Attorney Licensed in Your State

Federal & Military QDROs

Federal & Military Retirement Systems
$ 1200 Per QDRO
  • Review of Divorce Decree
  • Drafting of QDRO
  • Plan Pre-Approval
  • Guided Court Filing & Execution
  • Text (SMS) and Email Updates
  • Attorney Licensed in Your State

Benefits of Our Firm

Meet & Sign From Anywhere

Most divorced parties would rather be anywhere else but the same room as their ex-spouse. We handle things virtually - through web conference meetings or phone calls.

And when everyone is ready to sign, we use e-signatures (where legally acceptable - some courts are behind the times). Just open the document on your phone and squiggle in your signature.

We Deal With the Headaches

QDROs are often delayed by a couple of things: a party refuses to sign or a retirement plan administrator has questions about the divorce or QDRO paperwork. We're there throughout this process: from getting parties' signatures, to getting plan pre-approval, to preparing for filing with the court.

Online Archive

We store your file in a secure online locker - with bank-level encryption - for a minimum of seven years.

Real Lawyer

Before you hire an attorney or QDRO service online, ask one very important question: will an attorney, licensed in my state, be handling my case? We only take on QDROs where we are licensed to practice law. You'll have a real lawyer draft and review your paperwork.

Another vital point: we are neutral to both ex-spouses. This means open communication, no secrets, and everyone gets questions answered.

Flat Fees

Whenever possible, and for nearly all cases, flat fees apply. This means no surprises and no motivation to drag out your case for as long as possible.


We pride ourselves on speed: calls, texts, and emails returned promptly and work done without undue delays.

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Ratings & Reviews

Past success does not guarantee outcomes in future cases - but we always do our best!

What people say...

I am happy to endorse William -- he is smart, tenacious, trustworthy, and very personable. You can count on William to listen to your concerns, give you honest advice, and to stand up for you when it matters most.
Andrew Chow
General practice attorney
Me and a business partner working at a car dealership had questions regarding business practices inside our company. WIlliam was able to clarify to us the legal processes and possible repercussion of past practices. We work in the car industry which even today has some rather relaxed rules and regulations regarding good practices. It was good to have him review said practices to avoid legal trouble down the line. He was quick and responsive to our questions and seemed to genuinely care for his customers. I would strongly recommend him for his quick turn around time and great and professional follow up.
Former Client