With the “deadbeat” parent population growing by leaps and bounds, a QDRO should now be considered your primary weapon of choice in obtaining these overdue assets for your client. Millions of custodial parents throughout the country are owed past-due child support, yet may not know about this very important use for QDROs.

When Congress created QDROs in 1984, it recognized and addressed the well-settled public policy concerns surrounding child support obligations of noncustodial parents. QDROs for obtaining past-due child support are an indispensable element of that public policy. A child support QDRO prepared after a couple’s divorce does not modify the terms of a previous judgment entry. It is merely an enforcement tool against a “deadbeat” parent.

If your client’s ex-husband participates in his company’s 401(k) plan, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel and the past-due child support arrearage could be in your client’s hands within a couple of months. Assume, for example, your client’s ex-husband has built up a child support arrearage of $5,000. You can submit a child support QDRO today that awards the alternate payee her full child support arrearage of $5,000. This is true even if the participant himself is not yet eligible for a distribution under the plan. Most companies will provide the alternate payee under a defined contribution plan with an immediate distribution once the QDRO is approved.

Child Support QDROs – Should be Your Primary Weapon of Choice

•  Great Tool for Collection of Past-Due Child Support

•  Can often receive immediate lump sum distribution upon approval of QDRO

• Can receive up to 100% of participant’s total vested account balance 

• No limit on number of QDROs in a case

• Can specify either “former spouse” or “child” as alternate payee (a/p)

 Naming the “child” as a/p transfers tax liability to participant—where it should be

• QDRO Distribution can be made directly to State Support Enforcement Agency

As author of the leading textbooks in the field of QDROs, including the acclaimed Qualified Domestic Relations Order Handbook, 4th Edition, and The Complete QDRO Training Manual for Corporations and Plan Administrators (both Wolters, Kluwer Publications), Gary Shulman brings unparalleled expertise to QDRO drafting for attorneys and individuals.