A Qualified Domestic Relations Order, also known as a “QDRO” must be prepared in order to properly divide qualified retirement plans in California dissolution proceedings.   A qualified plan can be a traditional pension plan, in which a monthly payment is made to the retiree, or a lump sum account, such as a 401K.

Divorce judgments often include broadbrush provisions regarding the division of a plan between the parties, but the parties must take the further step of having a QDRO document prepared, ordered by the court, and accepted by the administrator of the retirement plan.  The best practice is to have the Q.D.R.0. done before the dissolution is completed. If not, it should be accomplished as soon as possible after the divorce is finalized.