How To Fix a Problem with a Retirement Interest Divided as Part of Divorce
Under Illinois law, if you discover a problem with your “qualified domestic relations order” commonly referred to as a QDRO – there may be a legal way to fix the problem. When a couple divorces, some retirement benefits may be divided by QDROs. QDROs are complicated and errors sometimes occur. Typically, the law limits time to correct errors in a court order. This time can be as little as 30 days. However, because a divorce judgment and in particular the provisions concerning QDROs remain enforceable for an indefinite period of time, the law allows errors to be corrected for an indefinite period of time so that the QDRO matches the judgment even when the QDRO was entered years before.
For example, in Marriage of Allen, 343 Ill.App.3d 410 (2003), the QDRO was entered in 1995. The QDRO contained terms that were different from the divorce judgment. As a result, the wife would receive far less of the husband’s pension under the QDRO than the amount expected under the terms of the divorce judgment. The wife discovered the error years later when the husband retired. The portion of the pension benefits that she received under the QDRO was less than she was supposed to receive under the divorce judgment. Because pension benefits paid to the wife were far less than expected under the divorce judgment — she successfully petitioned the court to amend the QDRO to match the terms of the divorce judgment so that she received the larger portion of the pension benefits as originally required under the divorce judgment. The Illinois Appellate Court ruled that the trial court “retains indefinite jurisdiction to enforce the [divorce] judgment” and to conform the terms of the QDRO to match the terms of the divorce judgment.
Please contact the Divorce and Family Law attorneys at Bruning & Associates, P.C. at 815-455-3000 to schedule your complimentary consultation to discuss any problems with a QDRO or any other post-judgment document required as part of your divorce.
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