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QDRO Attorney in Surprise AZ

Arizona QDRO Lawyer and Family Qualified Domestic Relations Order Sean Whitaker

Determining how to split your retirement assets during a divorce can be challenging and costly, if not done properly. Protect your retirement savings with an expert QDRO attorney in Surprise AZ. Contact us today for a consultation for our Flat Fee QDRO Surprise AZ Attorney rates.

Find Out if a QDRO Is Right For You

When getting a divorce in Surprise AZ, one difficulty that many couples face is how to divide retirement savings accounts. Retirement accounts pose unique challenges as retirement accounts are complex and subject to certain rules and regulations, and you will need the approval of the plan’s administrator to proceed. In many cases, only one partner may have contributed to specific accounts, but during a divorce, both parties may be entitled to part of those accounts. This can make the process contentious and delay the settlement process.

However, our QDRO attorney expert in Surprise AZ can help you reach an agreement and distribute these funds per that agreement. We can help you draft and create a QDRO that is compliant with all state and federal laws and agreeable to both parties to facilitate a smoother process. If you are ready to finalize your divorce but need to negotiate your retirement savings, contact us today for a consultation.

What Happens to Retirement Accounts in Divorce in Surprise AZ?

Surprise AZ is a community property state, meaning all assets you have acquired during your marriage are supposed to be split 50/50. However, this can be complicated when determining how to split your retirement accounts, pension plans, and 401 (k)s. Some of the money in these accounts may not be considered community property and, therefore, may not be subject to being split 50/50. You will also need to determine how to best roll these funds over to avoid excessive taxation. In order to divide these accounts, you or your ex-partner may decide to file a QDRO or a qualified domestic relations order.

What Is a QDRO?

A QDRO is a legal order that can determine how to split retirement accounts, pension plans, 401 (k)s, and other related accounts. This document allows your plan’s administrator to make the changes in your accounts, and it gives you and your ex-spouse a legally-binding agreement to distribute the funds as per the order. In Surprise AZ, QDRO can also be used to pay for spousal support, child support, attorney’s fees, and other settlements from the other party’s retirement savings accounts.

How Does a QDRO Work?

You or your ex will need to submit your QDRO to a judge, who will determine whether or not to approve it. If they approve it, one party will become the “payee,” and one party will become the “payor.” The payor is typically the plan participant. In many cases, the payee is the other spouse, but the payee can also be a dependent or child of the divorcing couple. The payee may receive up to 50% of any account covered in the order, regardless of whether or not both parties contributed. They may receive the money in the form of a new retirement account, or you may deposit it into an existing account. This paying party may also use some of the money to cover other expenses per the order. A QDRO can also include survivor’s benefits if the paying spouse passes away.

Why Do You Need a QDRO?

Your QDRO is there to protect you and your former spouse and serves several purposes. These purposes include:

  • It determines how to divide your retirement accounts and assets.
  • It gives your account’s administrator the legal authority to carry out these divisions.
  • It creates a legal obligation for each party to follow through with this division.
  • It determines how you will divide your tax liabilities.

What Is Considered Community Property in a Retirement Account?

Everything that a couple earns during their marriage is considered community property, even if one party didn’t work or was a student. This includes the money you and your former partner contributed to your retirement accounts. However, because these retirement accounts include pensions, money invested before the marriage, interest on the money, and even Social Security survivor benefits, it can be incredibly complicated to determine how to split your accounts. A couple may even decide not to split their assets 50/50, making it even more challenging to determine how you should divide these assets.

When Do You Need a QDRO?

A QDRO is an excellent way to agree upon the divisions of retirement assets, and it gives your plan’s administrator the ability to make those changes and distributions. While it is not legally required, it protects your rights. It also helps you and your ex-spouse agree on a settlement. While you might not need one if you don’t have significant retirement assets, it is always a good idea to consult a lawyer to determine if it makes sense for your situation.

What Types of Retirement Accounts Can You Use a QDRO For?

When it comes to retirement planning, you might be thinking of traditional assets like pensions, 401(k)s, and other financial vehicles. However, you or your spouse may also be entitled to a portion of a person’s federal, state, and military benefits. Continue reading to learn more.

Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts can include employee plans like 401 (k)s, 403 (k)s, and other investments. It can also include your IRA accounts. Certain tax considerations exist for each type of account, so you’ll want to consider that when drafting your QDRO with a lawyer.

Pensions Plans

Pension plans are also subject to QDROs. Additionally, if you do not address this issue in your divorce, your former spouse may be able to request a portion of your pension years after the divorce.

Military Pensions

There are specific requirements that your marriage must meet in order for a payee to receive a portion of the plan participant’s military pension. The couple must have been married for ten years, and the plan participant must have ten years of qualifying military service. If the plan participant meets these requirements, the payee may receive up to 50% of the plan participant’s disposable military retired pay.

What About Social Security Benefits?

Your social security benefits are not considered community property in a divorce and are not subject to division. While they may be used to calculate child and spousal support and can be garnished, they aren’t subject to a QDRO. However, you or your ex-spouse may be entitled to a portion of the other party’s Social Security survivor’s benefits, as long as they meet certain conditions.

Do I Need an Attorney for a QDRO

Many financial institutions require a lawyer for QDRO preparation in Surprise AZ. However, even if yours doesn’t, it is always best to work with an experienced lawyer to ensure that you have considered all your options. If you are the payee, you’ll want to ensure that the order includes everything you may be entitled to. If you are the party paying, you will want to protect your rights. Additionally, all QDROs must comply with federal and state regulations to be valid. Using a trusted QDRO lawyer in Surprise AZ is the best way to ensure that a judge can approve your QDRO.

What Our QDRO Lawyers Offer

Because QDROs deal with retirement accounts, there is additional complexity to dividing these accounts. Many retirement accounts feature certain restrictions, and failure to correctly divide them can result in fines and penalties. At Jensen Family Law, our experienced family and divorce lawyers can help:

  • Determine if you would benefit from a QDRO
  • Prepare your QDRO in compliance with all regulations
  • Help protect your assets and determine what you are entitled to
  • Help you avoid or navigate the probate process

If you want to learn more about how a QDRO works or if you need one for your case, contact us today for your consultation.

How the QDRO Preparation Process Works in Surprise AZ

Step 1: Initial Consultation

We’ll take an in-depth look at your retirement accounts and assets to determine if you would benefit from a QDRO. If we decide this is the right choice, we’ll begin drafting it for you.

Step 2: Submitting Your QDRO to the Financial Plan’s Administrator

Once it is complete, we must submit it to the financial plan’s administrator. If they approve the order, we can submit it to a judge.

Step 3: Presenting Your QDRO to a Judge

Your judge has the final say as to whether or not to approve the order. If you are the plan participant, not the payee, we can help defend your position if the QDRO is unreasonable.

Step 4: Distribution of Assets

Once a judge approves the QDRO, it becomes a part of your final divorce, and the funds are allocated to the appropriate channels. Contact us today to get started if you need assistance with QDRO preparation or a family lawyer.

Why Choose Jensen Family Law?

At Jensen Family Law, we have more than 20 years of experience helping families in Surprise AZ navigate complex legal issues and get the best outcomes for their families. Our highly-trained team handles all areas of family law, including divorce, child custody, paternity, spousal support, and other family-related issues. See why our clients choose us.

Flat-Fee QDRO Preparation

When it comes to getting a divorce, the process can be both emotionally and financially draining, but we are here to help make the process a bit easier. We offer flat-fee QDRO preparation so you can anticipate the costs and adjust as needed.

We Fight for You

When handling a divorce, especially with children involved, we are mindful that we are negotiating between two parties that may need to remain in contact. That is why we always strive for civility and a fair resolution. However, we will fight for our clients to protect your rights if required.

Exceptional Service

Divorce is complicated, and dividing retirement accounts can be even more so, but we are here to help you navigate the entire process. We offer prompt communication and will answer all your questions to ensure that you understand everything we do on your behalf. We want you to be comfortable with the outcome. Contact us today to get started if you are ready to create your QDRO.

How Much Does It Cost to Prepare a QDRO in Surprise AZ?

At Jensen Family Law, we offer one flat, affordable fee for your QDRO, making it easy for you to budget for this service. Hiring a QDRO attorney in Surprise AZ can help save you thousands further down the line, making it a smart choice for those in the process of divorce. Contact us today for pricing information.

Frequently Asked Questions

As the Payee, Will I Owe Taxes on Any Money I Receive?

It is always a good idea to consult with an accountant before you make any changes to your retirement accounts, as specific accounts, such as IRAs, can significantly impact your taxes. However, in most cases, if you are rolling the funds into a new retirement account, you should pay minimal taxes, if any.

Who Is Responsible for Paying for the QDRO?

This is something that you and your former spouse can decide, as there is no federal regulation that makes one party responsible.

How Is the Payee’s Share Calculated?

This will depend on the type of account you have, how long you have had it, and how long you have had it during your marriage. The money in your retirement accounts will be only community property if you earned it while married.

When Should I Get a QDRO?

It is always best to get your QDRO done as early as possible as it needs to be approved by several parties, including your plan’s administrator and a judge. This process can take several months and, occasionally, several years. Getting it done early is the best way to avoid any delays.

Request a Consultation With a QDRO Attorney in Surprise AZ Today

If you are in the process of divorce and need a QDRO to divide your retirement accounts or haven’t even hired a divorce lawyer in Surprise AZ, we are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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Need a QDRO Attorney in Surprise?

We’re open: Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm

For additional questions, you can call us at; (623) 469-0442 or you can find us on Google Maps.

Located in Surprise Arizona, on Bell Rd. Our Family Law Attorneys and Divorce Lawyers in Surprise AZ have been helping our clients achieve the legal results they are searching for. Our Surprise Law Firm offers Divorce Mediation, Uncontested Divorce, Contested Divorce, Legal Separation, Female Divorce Lawyers, Annulment, Child Support Issues, Child Custody, Military Divorce, Parenting Plans, Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, Grandparents Rights, Paternity, Order of Protection, Name Change and all Family Law legal issues.

Jensen Family Law in Surprise AZ
15331 W Bell Rd #212
Surprise, AZ 85374
(623) 469-0442
https://familylawattorneymesaaz.net/surprise




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Jensen Family Law in Mesa is located on 3740 E Southern Ave Suite 210, 85206 Mesa, Arizona. From Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Take S 41st St to E Sky Harbor Blvd, then head west on E Sky Harbor Blvd and Use the left lane to take the exit toward S 41st St. Then Turn right onto S 41st St. After that, Continue straight to stay on S 41st St, then Take AZ-202 Loop E, AZ-101 Loop S and US-60 E to S Val Vista Dr in Mesa. Take exit 184 from US-60 E after that Merge onto E Sky Harbor Blvd, then Use the left 2 lanes to merge onto AZ-202 Loop E toward Tempe/Mesa and Use the right 3 lanes to take exit 9 to merge onto AZ-101 Loop S. After that, Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 55A-B to merge onto US-60 E toward Globe, then Take exit 184 for Val Vista Dr. Then Continue on S Val Vista Dr to your destination and Turn left onto S Val Vista Dr. Turn right onto E Southern Ave, then turn left and Destination will be on the right.

We’re open 9 AM – 5 PM Monday – Friday and we are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

For additional questions you can call us at (480) 999-2321 or you can find us on Yelp.