What we can do for you
We negotiate, prepare, process and litigate qualified domestic relations orders and similar orders dividing retirement plan assets--including private sector plans, military plans, and government plans. We are a law firm, and we only practice in the states in which we have a licensed attorney who is able to handle all of our clients' issues, to ensure that benefits are appropriately secured. We are not a form service, and when you hire us we are prepared to handle your QDRO issues from beginning to end, including being available to you person-to-person whenever the need arises. We also consult on retirement plan provisions for settlement agreements and discovery issues related to retirement accounts. We serve family law attorneys, individual parties in family law cases whose attorneys do not perform these services, unrepresented parties going through divorce, mediators and all other family law professionals. We handle all types of plans, including but not limited to private sector plans (defined benefit pensions, 401(k)'s, profit-sharing plans, annuities, ESOPs, savings plans and IRAs), government plans (pensions, annuities and thrift savings plans), and military plans (pensions and thrift savings plans).
The QDRO Process
It is important for you as a client to understand that there is a difference between the process of dividing a retirement account and merely drafting a QDRO. What you are likely seeking is the completion of the account division process, which will include not only preparing the order, but also interacting with the retirement plan(s), the judge's office, the clerk's office, the other party and/or their attorney, and in some cases financial professionals. Indeed, the preparation of the order itself is a very important but very limited step in the process. Only an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the state in which your issues are pending is permitted to work directly with all of these third parties on a client's behalf. That is why our firm only takes cases in which we have an in-house licensed attorney to handle such cases--so that we can handle this process as throroughly as possible from beginning to end, and minimize the time required for completing the process.
At Matthew Lundy Law, we pride ourselves on the fact that we do not take your QDRO issues piecemeal. Not only are we responsible for preparing your orders, but we are here to give you sound legal advice as to any issues related to the division of retirement accounts in your case, and to interact with all interested parties on your behalf. Thus, once you hire us, we are accountable to you for getting this process done. The process of getting a QDRO or similar order prepared, negotiated, entered, certified, and administered is not a short process. In fact, you should anticipate that the entire process will take several (two to four) months to complete. If you are being told by anyone that it will take less time, then you are not being given a realistic estimate. When you hire our firm, we are responsible for the entire process from the drafting of the order until the point at which the retirement plan acknowledges that the order has been reviewed and approved, all for a flat fee, unless the matter requires litigation. If the matter must be litigated, and you do not have a family law attorney who is handling your case, we are available to you to litigate the matter.
The mere drafting of a QDRO or similar order should take no more than a few business days. However, you should also know that if your case involves a retirement account, handling the QDRO generally takes about 8-16 weeks from beginning to end, but can take anywhere from 1 month to 12 months, depending on the plan in question. This means that delaying hiring someone to prepare your order(s) can put your money in jeopardy.
More Information on QDROs
For more information on QDROs, please review our "Cheat Sheets" on dividing retirement plan (you will need Adobe or an Adobe reader to review this): Cheat_Sheet.pdf