When you receive a domestic relations order, you must determine if it is qualified. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a legal document that acknowledges the right of an alternate payee (e.g., spouse, former spouse, child) to receive all or a portion of the benefits payable to a plan participant. As Plan Administrator, you are responsible for developing written procedures for processing QDROs.

Your role related to processing QDROs, as well as that of the plan participant and the Program, is described in detail below.


In the chart below you will find some necessary steps for processing a domestic relations order. The Department of Labor (DOL) has information available on QDROs through its Internet site at www.dol.gov/ebsa.

Steps for Processing a QDROPlan Participant’s RolePlan Administrator’s RoleThe Program’s Role
1. Provide documentation of domestic relations order to Plan Administrator
2. Notify participant and alternate payee that order was received and of plan’s procedure for making QDRO determination
3. Instruct the Program to secure amounts payable to alternate payee
4. The Program places hold on participant’s account
5. Determine if order is a QDRO
6. Notify participant and alternate payee of determination of order; for the alternate payee attach a copy of the summary plan description; notify Program if the QDRO not qualified to allow for release of the hold on the account
7. If qualified, complete Qualified Domestic Relations Order Review Sheet  (and SDBA Application if applicable) (and Distribution Request Form if alternate payee wants an immediate distribution
8. Mail QDRO and QDRO Review Sheet Form to the Program
9. Process Form QDRO Review Sheet Form
10. Send confirmation notice to participant and to alternate payee