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QUALIFIED DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER
A Qualified domestic relations order or QDRO (pronounced quadro) is an order the judge makes following a divorce or legal separation to divide a retirement or pension plan, thus providing the divorced spouse their portion of the retirement or pension plan(s).
QDROs do allow ownership in the participant's (employee's) pension plan to be provided to an alternate payee. This alternate must be a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent of the participant.
QDROs can only apply to employee benefit or pension plans that are subject to ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act). Similar types of orders are available for the division of military retirement pay as well as Federal civil service retirement plans, State, county and municipal retirement plans within Massachusetts.
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