Domestic Relations Orders

Making QDRO’s Simple

Unlike many firms utilizing paralegals to perform the majority of the work, every single retirement order that comes through our firm is reviewed by Eric, an attorney with experience and knowledge. Eric has handled over 1000+ retirement division orders and knows the nuances and details for successfully processing each and every order. He builds relationships and contacts with Plan Administrators to ensure, when possible, that orders are pre-approved, so your time is not wasted with unnecessary processing delays. Dividing retirement accounts after a divorce can be overwhelming.


Efficient and Effective QDRO Preparation​

Our QDRO service will methodically prepare and process your QDROs. Contact our office today, and you can sit back and let us finish the job. Our attorneys are licensed in Maryland, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.


Team Approach to QDRO Preparation

Our team coordinates with our clients from intake through distribution. We are attentive, responsive and knowledgeable. Eric A. Haviland, Esq. and our administrative team work together to provide our clients with comprehensive, and responsive service.


Cost-Effective Solutions

Our competitive costs provide our clients with a cost-effective solution to what can be an expensive problem. We charge a flat fee of $695.00 for the initial QDRO and $475.00 for each additional QDRO, if necessary.

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”) is a type of court order that complies with certain requirements of federal law in order to divide a retirement account. A QDRO may be used to establish marital property rights to a spouse or former spouse, to pay alimony to a spouse or former spouse, or to recover past-due child support.

While the federal law ERISA governs the distribution of private qualified retirement plans, this law does not apply to government benefits and plans. Government retirement benefits are therefore divided between the plan owner and the alternative employee using a Domestic Relations Order (“DRO”) only. Retirement benefits provided by a state, the military, federal government, a county, or city are all government plans that are not qualified. ERISA’s laws, therefore, do not apply to these plans.

A defined contribution plan is a type retirement plan in which fixed contributions are paid into an individual account by employers and employees. In defined contribution plans, future benefits fluctuate on the basis of investment earnings. The most common type of defined contribution plan is a 401(k) or a savings and thrift plan. Under this type of plan, the employee contributes a predetermined portion of his or her earnings (usually pretax) to an individual account, all or part of which is matched by the employer.

Also known as “pension plans” or qualified-benefit plans, this type of plan is called “defined benefit” because employees and employers know the formula for calculating retirement benefits ahead of time, and they use it to define and set the benefit paid out. It is an employer-based program that pays benefits based on factors such as length of employment and salary history. Typically an employee cannot just withdraw funds as with a 401(k) plan. Rather they become eligible to take their benefit as a lifetime annuity or in some cases as a lump-sum at an age defined by the plan’s rules.

In order to begin the preparation of your domestic relations order you must do 3 things:
  1. Fill out the Questionnaire for your order(s)
  2. Execute the Agreement with our Firm to prepare your order(s)
  3. Pay via Credit Card, or Check for your Order(s).
Once we have received the above three items, we will prepare your domestic relations order, submit it to the Plan for pre-approval, and then distribute it for the appropriate signatures. In some cases we will file the order with the Court, and upon execution by a Judge, submit it to the Plan Administrator for processing.

Plan Administrators vary, however, you should anticipate a processing time of 4-8 months after the Domestic Relations Order, which has been signed by a Judge before it is processed. Depending on your jurisdiction, some Courts take 1-3 months to execute the Domestic Relations Order. You may check in with our Firm about your specific Plan for further details on processing time.

Eric is often hired to litigate contested issues related to domestic relations orders. If you need more than just preparation, and there is an issue in dispute, you may retain Eric to fight for your rights.


IRAs are divided using a process known as “transfer incident to divorce,” while 403(b) and qualified plans, such as a 401(k), are split under the “Qualified Domestic Relations Order” (“QDRO”). Our Firm can handle any orders necessary to transfer funds incident to divorce.


Yes. We charge a flat fee of $325.00 to review and provide edits to Orders prepared by other firms or individuals.


Yes. We are based in the heart of Annapolis, and our Firm regularly prepares military retirement division orders. Military pension division laws are often complex, and they require a pension division order. The order will determine the amount to be shared between you and your former spouse. It also outlines whether a former spouse will receive direct pay or not and how other issues, such as applying for disability pay, will affect the pension division.


Upon submission of your documents, Eric will review your Court Orders, Judgment for Divorce, and any other relevant paperwork. Eric will be able to advise you if you need multiple orders, only one order, or no orders at all.