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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois collaborative divorce lawyerSome people may not realize that money they put into a retirement account, like a 401(k) or IRA, during their marriage is not theirs alone. When the marriage ends in divorce, those retirement funds will likely need to be split just like every other asset and debt the couple has acquired while they were married. In order to avoid paying large fees on a retirement plan withdrawal, the couple will likely need a QDRO (qualified domestic relations order). An attorney can help walk the parties through the process, as it can get a little bit complicated.

What Is a QDRO?

A QDRO is an official decree, which must be approved by a judge, that orders one party to transfer funds from his or her retirement plan to the other divorcing party. Information that must be included in the QDRO includes the plan participant’s name and either a specific amount or percentage of the benefits that are to be paid to the other party.

The party who is receiving the funds must then receive the money as if he or she was the owner of the plan. Then the payee may use the money as needed, which will result in taxes charged to the receiver of the money, or he or she may roll it over into another plan, which makes the transaction tax-free.

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divorceDivorce can bring on a rush of emotions and leave a person going through the process not thinking clearly. There is so much to think about that many assets may be overlooked. Both spouses are legally required to be upfront about their assets. Although there are often cases in which a spouse purposely hides assets, some items are quite simply forgotten when it comes time to divide up everything in a divorce.

Where to Begin with Property Division

Most people probably have no problem coming up with a list of assets and debts that will have to be split in their divorce. On the asset side, think bank accounts, the family home, cars, and investments. On the debt side, think mortgages, loans, and credit cards. These can be split evenly, or couples may have different ideas for who will get what. An experienced divorce attorney can help you iron out a fair deal in your divorce and can assist in making sure you do not forget about any other valuable items that you may be entitled to.

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