Los Angeles Divorce Attorney
Divorce and Family Lawyer in Los Angeles
QDROs - Division of Pensions FAQ #13
13. Who determines whether an order is a QDRO?
Under Federal law, the administrator of the retirement plan that provides the benefits affected by an
order is the individual (or entity) initially responsible for determining whether a domestic relations
order is a QDRO. Plan administrators have specific responsibilities and duties with respect to
determining whether a domestic relations order is a QDRO. Plan administrators, as plan fiduciaries,
are required to discharge their duties prudently and solely in the interest of plan participants and
beneficiaries. Among other things, plans must establish reasonable procedures to determine the
qualified status of domestic relations orders and to administer distributions pursuant to qualified
orders. Administrators are required to follow the plan's procedures for making QDRO determinations.
Administrators also are required to furnish notice to participants and alternate payees of the receipt of
a domestic relations order and to furnish a copy of the plan's procedures for determining the qualified
status of such orders.
It is the view of the Department of Labor that a state court (or other state agency or instrumentality
with the authority to issue domestic relations orders) does not have jurisdiction to determine whether
an issued domestic relations order constitutes a qualified domestic relations order. In the view of the
Department, jurisdiction to challenge a plan administrator's decision about the qualified status of an
order lies exclusively in Federal court.
Reference: ERISA §§ 206(d)(3)(G)(i) and (ii), 404(a), 502(a)(3), 502(e), 514; IRC § 414(p)(6)(A)(ii)
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