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Ignore Ancillary Divorce Documents at Your Own Peril

AN UNFORTUNATE ASSUMPTION at times is that the only thing necessary in a divorce is a final divorce decree signed by a Judge. While this may be true to get you divorced, there are oftentimes additional documents necessary to effectuate the terms of the divorce. It might not always be apparent what these ancillary documents are or when they are necessary. Equally problematic is that there might be no adequate solution by the time the problem is discovered. There is no substitute for having a dedicated family attorney in your corner that can identify the particular needs of your unique divorce.

What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (or QDRO – pronounced “quadro”) is an order that would be presented to the Court along with the divorce decree. A QDRO is necessary to avoid tax implications for ERISA-qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) plans, pensions, deferred- compensation plans, and profit-sharing plans. A separate QDRO is needed for each such account, and they are uniquely tailored to the particular plan – there is no one-size-fits-all option! Ensuring that the QDRO is properly drafted, timely filed, and correctly presented to the plan administrator can mean the difference between receiving expected funds or not. Frequently, property division in divorce can be creatively achieved through specific provisions regarding real property. Perhaps the jointly-owned residence is awarded to one side. In that case, you would need to execute some type of Warranty Deed or risk an unfortunate shock when you go to sell. Perhaps that property is encumbered by a mortgage in the name of both parties. A divorce decree alone would not protect the named party that is not awarded the property, so a Deed of Trust to Secure Assumption would be necessary. Perhaps the party that isn’t awarded the property is receiving their equity from the other side through a cash-out refinance or other such payout. In that case, it would be prudent to look into an Equity Lien. It is important to make sure that your financial rights secured in a divorce decree are properly protected by the correct real property documentation.

Something that we are seeing more frequently agreed to between parties and ordered by local Judges is a life insurance policy guaranteeing child support obligations. The concept is simple enough – the obligor maintains a life insurance policy with a payout sufficient to cover the remaining child support obligation, and the obligee is named beneficiary in the amount of the remaining support. What becomes more difficult is that these terms are being effectuated by an inter vivos trust to ensure that the policy is initiated, the premiums are being paid, and that there is no change to the beneficiary status. An obligee

that expects an accelerated child support payment out of an improperly done trust (or no trust at all) could find themselves without remedy should the obligor reach an untimely demise.

These are just a few examples of the many ancillary documents that might be necessary in addition to the basic divorce decree. 

Ready to safeguard your financial future during divorce proceedings? Unsure if you have all the necessary documents in place? 

Let our experienced divorce attorneys at Albin Oldner Law guide you through the process. Call us at 214-423-5100 or fill out our contact form!

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