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Can I Use My Account to Pay Child Support or Alimony?

Q. Makayla G. of Kentucky asks: "Can I Use My Account to Pay Child Support or Alimony?"

A. Brett Disdale from Pension Evaluators & QDROS Of Troyan, Inc Associates Group, answers: "All or part of your retirement plan may be transferred to your spouse if the transfer is made under a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). A QDRO is a court order, judgment, or decree that relates to child support, alimony, or property rights of a spouse or former spouse, child, or dependent of the participant made pursuant to an applicable state's domestic relations law.

To qualify as a QDRO, all of the following criteria must be met:

  • The instrument must be a judgment, decree, or order of a court (including an approval of a property settlement agreement) that
  • Relates to the provision of child support, alimony payments, and marital property rights of your spouse, child, or other dependent
  • Is made pursuant to your state domestic relations law, including a community property law.
  • The domestic relations order must create or recognize the existence of an alternate payee's right to receive, or it must assign to an alternate payee the right to receive, all or a portion of the benefits payable to you or payable on your behalf; the term alternate payee means your former spouse, child, or other dependent who is recognized by the order as having a right to receive all or part of your benefits under the plan

The QDRO must not:

  • Require the plan to provide any type of benefit or any option not otherwise provided for in the plan
  • Require the plan to provide more benefits (determined on the basis of actuarial value) to the alternate payee than you would be entitled to require the plan to pay one alternate payee benefits that are required to be paid to another alternate payee under another order previously determined to be a QDRO.

The QDRO must clearly specify all of the following information:

  • Your name and last known address and the name and mailing address of each alternate payee covered by the order
  • The amount or percentage of your benefits to be paid by the plan to each alternate payee or the manner in which such amount or percentage is to be determined
  • The number of payments or the period to which the order applies
  • The name of each plan covered by the order.
  • A plan administrator is required to determine whether a domestic relations order is a QDRO within a reasonable time after the receipt of the order and is required to notify you and each alternate payee of the determination. Every plan is required to have written procedures for making these determinations, and these written procedures should be available to you."

Brett Disdale

Senior QDRO Writer

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