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How To Prepare a QDRO In an Illinois Divorce

Preparing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a crucial step in dividing retirement assets in an Illinois divorce. A QDRO is a legal document that outlines how the retirement benefits will be divided between the spouses. The QDRO is required by the plan administrator to ensure that the retirement benefits are divided correctly. In this blog post, we will discuss the steps involved in preparing a QDRO in an Illinois divorce.

Step 1: Identify the Retirement Plan

The first step in preparing a QDRO is to identify the retirement plan. This includes the type of plan, the name of the plan administrator, and the plan's identification number. This information can usually be found on the retirement plan statement or through the plan administrator's website.

Step 2: Determine the Division of Benefits

The next step is to determine how the retirement benefits will be divided between the spouses. This is typically based on the court order or settlement agreement that outlines the terms of the divorce. The QDRO should specify the percentage or dollar amount that will be awarded to each spouse.

Step 3: Obtain the QDRO Template

The QDRO template is typically provided by the plan administrator. It is important to use the correct QDRO template, as different plans may have different requirements. The template should be reviewed carefully to ensure that all necessary information is included.

Step 4: Complete the QDRO Form

The QDRO form should be completed accurately and completely. This includes the names and contact information for both parties, the name and address of the plan administrator, the percentage or dollar amount to be awarded to each spouse, and the payment schedule.

Step 5: Submit the QDRO to the Court for Approval

Once the QDRO form is completed, it must be submitted to the court for approval. The QDRO should be accompanied by a cover letter and any necessary supporting documents. The court will review the QDRO to ensure that it is in compliance with the court order or settlement agreement.

Step 6: Serve the QDRO on the Plan Administrator

Once the QDRO has been approved by the court, it must be served on the plan administrator. This is typically done by certified mail or through electronic submission, depending on the plan administrator's requirements. The plan administrator will review the QDRO to ensure that it meets their requirements.

Step 7: Review and Confirm the Division of Benefits

After the QDRO has been served on the plan administrator, it is important to review and confirm the division of benefits. This includes reviewing the plan administrator's response to the QDRO and verifying that the benefits have been divided correctly.

Step 8: Monitor the Benefits

Once the benefits have been divided, it is important to monitor them to ensure that they are being paid correctly. This includes verifying the payment schedule and the amount of each payment. Any discrepancies should be addressed immediately.


Preparing a QDRO is an important step in dividing retirement assets in an Illinois divorce. It is a complex process that requires careful attention to detail and adherence to strict legal requirements. It is important to work with an experienced divorce attorney who understands the QDRO process and can help ensure that the retirement benefits are divided fairly and correctly. By following these steps and working with a qualified attorney, you can help ensure that your rights are protected and that the QDRO is prepared correctly.


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