DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER [DRO] INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS
Thank you for choosing this Office for the preparation of your Domestic Relations Order (QDRO, EDRO, or other). As your attorney has likely already explained to you, this legal instrument will become a Court Order dividing pensions and other retirement plans such as a 401(k), 457 plan, etc., per the terms of your Judgment of Divorce (or Legal Separation). An IRA may or may not require a Court Order, depending on the investment company where held (see separate link above for more information on dividing IRAs or click here).
To prepare the DRO, we will require at least the following information, which will also assist in the prompt and efficient completion of the Order. Some of this information may already be in the Divorce Judgment. We ask that you provide it separately anyway, for sake of convenience, and to assure accuracy; for example, the Judgment may no longer reflect the parties’ current addresses.
To establish your initial file, please provide the materials by regular mail; afterwards, anything that needs to be supplemented can be faxed or emailed.
(1) A complete copy of the Divorce Judgment (or Legal Separation).
(2) Both parties’ full names, current addresses, e-mail addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers and phone numbers; state if you have a computer printer. Please specify if this Office should deal with the parties directly during the DRO process, or through their attorneys.
(3) The date of marriage and the date of divorce.
(4) If not provided in the Judgment, state specifically the plan or account to be divided. For example, “ABC Co. pension” may not be sufficient, as there could be several plans. If the account to be divided is a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), the name of the employer and investment company (e.g., Fidelity Investments, Merrill Lynch, etc.) should be identified; “401(k) through employer ABC” may not be sufficient.
(5) If available, please provide copies of any documents describing the plan, including any sample QDROs or EDROs. For retirement savings accounts such as a 401(k), please also provide a statement from the investment company dated closest to the date of division (usually the date of divorce).
(6) Please advise if the employee [not applicable to IRAs]: - is/was salaried or hourly; and - is retired, still employed, or no longer employed but not yet collecting retirement from Plan to be divided.
(7) If applicable (Wayne and Oakland County divorces), please provide several court docket labels with the parties’ names & Court case number. We do assess an additional $25.00 fee to obtain the labels for you.
(8) It is important to let us know if any prior DROs were prepared for the Plan(s) we are preparing an Order to divide, as the new Order must specify the status of the prior DRO(s), even if the prior Order(s) was not accepted by the Plan or not even sent to the Plan, but was entered with the Court.
(9) Our fee is generally $400.00 per Plan/Order, or as set on case by case basis. Fee includes entry with the Court up to 2 Orders by signed agreement of the Parties if entered at the same time; extra modest fee for separate entry or more than 2 Orders.
There is an additional $50 charge per order, if required by the applicable plan to be court certified (of which we will advise). We do require pre-payment. Payment is accepted by check, money order, or cash; we apologize for no credit cards.
Payment should be made payable to: Mark Cherniak, P.C. and mailed to: Law Office of Mark S. Cherniak, P.C. 22226 Garrison St., 2nd Floor Dearborn, MI 48124
(10) Any further explanations needed or questions are welcome by email, phone, etc., but respectfully requested to be kept to a reasonable quantity. If applicable, a general Memo is available discussing plan loans, dividing IRAs, and balancing several plans by ‘minimizing’ the number of plans actually divided and DROs needed; or click here if on website.
(11) To address a common question – how long does this take? Once the needed information and payment are provided, it generally us takes us a week to 10 days to complete the Order or other documents, and often less time than that. Depending on the Plan, it may be worthwhile to have the Plan pre-review the Order for any changes they require, for the Order to be ‘qualified’ or accepted by the Plan. A pre-review significantly reduces the possibility of having to revise the Order after it has been entered with the Court. You will be advised if a pre-review is recommended. The Order we prepare has to be entered with the Court to become a Court Order. We will mail the Order to you for both parties’ signatures, indicating your agreement to enter the document as a Court Order. The Court will accept your separate signatures. The signatures are returned to us, and we forward the original document with copies to the Court for entry. Upon return from the Court, an authenticated copy is sent to the retirement plan, with copies to both parties. The plan itself could take a month or even longer to review the Order, before administering its terms, and dividing the retirement funds. As such, the entire process through completion could take up to 2 months or even longer. For the reasons stated, we control only part of this process. A party designated to receive funds from the retirement plan thus needs to plan his or her finances accordingly.
Mark Cherniak 22226 Garrison St., 2nd Floor Dearborn, MI 48124-2208 (313) 722-4944 (313) 722-4176 (Fax) firstname.lastname@example.org (email) Website: QDRO-Services.com