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Are You Dividing Retirement Assets in a High Net-Worth Divorce? You May Need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

For high asset couples, getting divorced can be especially challenging. Not only is there more to split up, but many high net-worth couples own complex property. This includes retirement savings and retirement benefits. When splitting up retirement assets, too many couples make major mistakes — thereby causing major conflict and subjecting themselves to wholly avoidable penalties and fees.

If you are splitting up retirement assets, you could benefit from using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A QDRO is a specialized legal order that will help you protect your retirement assets from unnecessary penalties. Here, our top-rated Illinois high net-worth divorce attorneys provide an overview of the most important things divorcing couples need to know about Qualified Domestic Relations Orders.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order: The Basics

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is the best legal tool available to help couples divide retirement benefits in a divorce. QDROs are efficient and cost effective, and they allow couples to divide retirement savings/benefits without penalties such as early withdrawal fees and additional taxes. For high net-worth couples, this is critically important. Without a QDRO, divorcing couples could:

  • Struggle to divide retirement benefits;
  • Leave certain benefits — such as a pension spouse survivor benefits — on the table; and
  • Get hit with huge penalties and fees.

Public/Municipal Employees: Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order (QILDRO)

If you or your partner is a public or municipal employee in Illinois, you are likely entitled to benefits through the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS). In this case, you may need to use a Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Orders (QILDROs) to divide these pension/retirement benefits in a divorce.

QRDOs/QILDROs Should Be Personalized

To be legally valid, a QDRO or QILDRO must conform to certain standards. In addition, these orders must be narrowly tailored to fit the needs of your unique individual situation. When drafting a QDRO/QILDRO, a wide range of different legal issues must be considered, including:

  • The total value of all retirement assets/benefits;
  • The specific nature of these benefits;
  • Any spousal support obligations; and
  • Any child support obligations.

If you are part of a high net-worth couple and you are getting divorced, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Illinois property division lawyer who can help to ensure that your retirement benefits/savings are properly protected and that you actually get your fair share.

Get Help From Our Illinois Divorce Lawyers Today

At Keller Legal Services, our top-rated Illinois family law attorneys have extensive experience handling high net-worth divorces. If you have questions or concerns about property division or Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), we are here to help.

To set up a strictly confidential family law consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm today. We have offices in Aurora and Wheaton, and we represent clients throughout the region including in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County, and Will County.