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LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37639
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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Hi - My wife and I were divorced October 26th, 2012. Under

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Hi - My wife and I were divorced October 26th, 2012. Under the terms of our agreement, she is to receive half of the 401k money I earned during the marriage (about $45,000), with the two of us splitting the fee for the attorney who is going to arrange the paperwork on that. Since the divorce, I have heard nothing more about this and as of yesterday my 401K is still intact. Is this normal? It seemed like everything else had to be done within 30 days of the divorce date, but I didn't know if possibly this sort of thing takes longer for some reason.

Good morning Greg,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation.

The preparation of a QDRO (the Qualified Domestic Relations Order which directs the plan administrator to disburse money from the plan)---if it was not even begun before the divorce---but was supposed to be done sometime afterward---may be your problem. These documents are complicated and time consuming to prepare, they must be sent to the court for signature by the judge and then they must be processed by the retirement plan administrator.

You need to get with the attorney who is supposed to do the paperwork and get them moving. because the valuation of the money you earned during marriage was determinable at the time of the decree---if the market tanks and the value of your 401K drops, your ex will still be able to get her 1/2 value at time of divorce---not the 1/2 value after the market tanks 6 months later.

it is normal for the process of submitting the QDRO to the 401K Administrator and the disbursement of the funds to take about 60 days. However, as you are now past that time, you would be well served to contact the attorney and inquire as to the delay.

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I wish you the best in 2013,


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