Frequently Asked Questions
 
What is a QDRO?
What is the process for creating a QDRO?
How will filing a QDRO affect me?
What are the technical requirements to view this site properly?
Glossary
What is a QDRO?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a court-approved order that assigns all or a portion of a Plan participant's (the Participant) Tax Qualified retirement plan benefits to a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent (the Alternate Payee). QDROs are permitted for three reasons: to divide marital assets in a divorce or separation, to pay alimony, or to provide child support.

Pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (IRC), a QDRO must contain the following information:

The Name Of The Plan
The Name And Last Known Mailing Address Of The Participant
The Name And Mailing Address Of The Alternate Payee
The Amount To Be Paid, The Manner In Which Such Amount Is To Be Determined And The Number Of Payments Or Period To Which The Order Applies

In addition to the requirements of ERISA and the IRC, an Order may also need to contain other plan-specific information. These additional requirements are outlined in a Plan's QDRO rules and procedures.

Please note that unless a Domestic Relations Order meets the requirements of ERISA, the IRC and the Plan's QDRO rules and procedures, the order will not be qualified and will not be considered a QDRO.

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What is the process for creating a QDRO?

Participants (and/or their spouses /ex-spouses) who are separating or divorcing are encouraged to select a legal or financial advisor to assist in the preparation of a domestic relations order. The parties or their representative may wish to obtain specific information about the Participant's plan benefit as well as general information about the plan. General plan information can be found in the Plan's Summary Plan Description (SPD), the Plan Document and the Plan's QDRO Approval Guidelines and Procedures. The SPD and plan document can be obtained from the plan administrator. The QDRO Approval Guidelines and Procedures can be viewed by logging in to the QDRO Center.

After reviewing this information, you and/or your representative may prepare a domestic relations order. You may wish to do so using Fidelity's QDRO Center. The QDRO Center was created both to assist individuals in the preparation of domestic relations orders, and to speed up the qualification process. Orders created via Fidelity's QDRO Center will not always meet the requirements of every particular situation.

When preparing an order using Fidelity's QDRO Center, you will spend approximately 10 minutes answering a series of generic and plan-specific questions. After reviewing your answers, you will be able to print a draft domestic relations order ready for review and filing with the court. Once a certified copy of this filed and court executed document is received by Fidelity, Fidelity will initiate the review process. Because the content of the QDRO Center has been customized to address each specific plan's QDRO requirements, orders prepared via the QDRO Center are able to be reviewed quickly (typically within 3 to 5 business days), and are typically processed faster than traditionally prepared documents.

Alternatively, you or your representative may draft your own customized domestic relations order. If the order conforms to the requirements of ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code and the Plan's QDRO rules and procedures, the review of the document is typically completed within 60 business days. If the order does not conform to these requirements, the parties or their representative may continue to draft and submit amended orders until a qualified order is provided.

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How will filing a QDRO affect the Participant's benefit?
When Fidelity receives a court approved qualified domestic relations order, the Participant's entire account balance or accrued benefit typically will be frozen. Once the Participant's account or accrued benefit is frozen, the Participant generally will be unable to initiate either loans or withdrawals and typically will be unable to collect pension benefits during the restriction period. Contributions on behalf of the Participant can continue to be made to the Plan, and defined contribution plan Participants can continue to direct investments while their account is restricted.

Typically, the freeze on the Participant's defined contribution account is removed following the qualification of the Order. The Plan's QDRO rules and procedures detail the freeze removal requirements.
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What are the technical requirements to view this site properly?
This site is best viewed at 1024 by 768 screen resolution using Microsoft Internet Explorer version 4.01 or higher.
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