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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Default How to Get a QDRO From a Foreign Court for a U.S. Retirement Plan

    My question involves a marriage in the state of: New York.

    Spouse and I are getting divorced after having moved to Europe. We have been here for approximately 4 years after having lived and married in NY State. What is the best way to obtain the QDRO necessary for splitting the 401k in my spouse's name? Is it simply enough for the judge here in Europe to rule that 50% of a pension plan be allocated to me as a result of the divorce? And, once that occurs, the divorce decree becomes translated, "domesticated", and registered in the US? Will this require the services of a NY lawyer, or can this be handled remotely by either my lawyer in Europe or myself once I have the papers? Are the available "online" QDRO sites who guide you through the process to generate the paperwork advised? Thanks in advance for any feedback or answers!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: How to Get a QDRO From a Foreign Court for a U.S. Retirement Plan

    You can talk to the plan administrator about whether they have a model QDRO that they use, and whether they would accept a QDRO that was issued by a court from another nation. If they can offer a QDRO, you can have your lawyer review it and advise you about whether it would be a good choice for you -- a plan's model QDRO is not necessarily going to do what you want. There are lawyers and accountants who will prepare a QDRO for a flat fee, so if the plan's QDRO is unacceptable (or if they don't have one) that's an option for your lawyer.

    If the plan will accept a QDRO issued by the court in your present nation, then you can have the court issue a QDRO and file it with the administrator; if not, then you'll need to open an ancillary action in the U.S. to have a QDRO entered. If you retain a lawyer, you can discuss whether it will be possible to accomplish that without your having to appear in court.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    3

    Default Re: How to Get a QDRO From a Foreign Court for a U.S. Retirement Plan

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    You can talk to the plan administrator about whether they have a model QDRO that they use, and whether they would accept a QDRO that was issued by a court from another nation. If they can offer a QDRO, you can have your lawyer review it and advise you about whether it would be a good choice for you -- a plan's model QDRO is not necessarily going to do what you want. There are lawyers and accountants who will prepare a QDRO for a flat fee, so if the plan's QDRO is unacceptable (or if they don't have one) that's an option for your lawyer.

    If the plan will accept a QDRO issued by the court in your present nation, then you can have the court issue a QDRO and file it with the administrator; if not, then you'll need to open an ancillary action in the U.S. to have a QDRO entered. If you retain a lawyer, you can discuss whether it will be possible to accomplish that without your having to appear in court.
    Thank you for your reply. I took your advice and obtained a model language QDRO from the 3rd party that handles this on behalf of the 401k. It is a surprisingly straightforward document that was easy to complete, except for CASE # and COURT OF, both of which I don't have of course. I was also told that this would have to be signed by a judge in the state where we resided, as a foreign court would not be acceptable.

    Considering I already have the QDRO, do I have to wait for the outcome of the court here first before submitting this QDRO to someone in the US? I don't really a need a laywer, because I'm using the model, which is fine at 50% division. But, perhaps I need a lawyer just to open a case in the court? Or, can I just submit some supporting documents with this QDRO directly to the court of NY somehow? Funds are pretty tight so I'd rather avoid costly lawyer's fees if at all possible. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    988

    Default Re: How to Get a QDRO From a Foreign Court for a U.S. Retirement Plan

    Who said a foreign court is not acceptable?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    3

    Default Re: How to Get a QDRO From a Foreign Court for a U.S. Retirement Plan

    Quote Quoting HRinDEVON
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    Who said a foreign court is not acceptable?
    The 3rd company AON Hewit is the outsourced company that handles incoming QDROs and approves them for the 401k. Their model requires that a State court in the US sign and approve the DRO so that it can be qualified by AON and the company that manages the 401k itself to become a full fledged QDRO.

    I guess my question is - how can I in the least painful way, while abroad, have this entered into a State court? Does a lawyer need to be involved?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    988

    Default Re: How to Get a QDRO From a Foreign Court for a U.S. Retirement Plan

    I don't follow where unless at least one of the parties is a resident of the state in question why that state would have jurisdiction to issue a QDRO .
    On the other hand, the domestication of a foreign court order s not a rare step and courts give a lot of weight to orders of other states/countries.
    I think you want some more homework as to what is or is not a binding order upon the 401k plan administrator

    - - - Updated - - -

    IRC 414p refers to,an order issued by a state....but I do not know what the word state means in this context.

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