QDROs for Employee Benefit Plan Administrators: Strategies for Effective and Efficient QDRO Administration and Compliance

Tips for Successful, Streamlined QDRO Processing

A live 110-minute CPE webinar with interactive Q&A

Thursday, June 13, 2019

1:00pm-2:50pm EDT, 10:00am-11:50am PDT

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, May 17, 2019

or call 1-800-926-7926

This webinar will offer employee benefit plan sponsors and administrators a thorough guide to the challenges of administering a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Attorney and QDRO expert Emily W. McBurney will draw from her nearly 20 years’ experience to offer practical, real-life insight into how plan administrators and sponsors can eliminate the problems that often make administrating QDROs so difficult and time consuming.


As a general rule, a tax-qualified retirement plan such as a 401(k) account cannot be assigned or transferred to anyone other than the employee. However, retirement plans qualified under ERISA must accept properly drafted Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), which fall under the exception to the anti-assignment rules and permit the transfer of benefits to a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent awarded under an order entered by a State court in any domestic relations matter.

A QDRO directs the administrator of a qualified plan to distribute a specified portion of the plan assets to an "alternate payee." Under federal law, the employer or plan administrator bears the responsibility for determining whether an order qualifies as a QDRO, with significant consequences if the determination is in error.

QDROs create additional obligations on plan administrators, including notifications to the employee and Alternate Payee and a duty to segregate benefits. Any retirement plan that falls under ERISA must have current and compliant QDRO procedures.

Listen as attorney and QDRO expert Emily W. McBurney provides employers and plan professionals with a practical guide to meeting the challenges of administering QDROs to avoid common errors in dividing qualified retirement plans.



  1. Structure of QDROs
    1. QDRO preparation process
    2. What must a QDRO contain in order to be qualified
    3. Department of Labor guidelines
  2. Key items to address in written QDRO procedures
    1. Summary of plan documents
    2. Description of time limits set by plan administrator for making determinations
    3. Details of plan asset protection steps upon receipt of a QDRO
    4. Process for requesting review of plan administrator’s determination if an order qualifies as a QDRO
  3. Additional topics to address in QDRO procedures
  4. Drafting Model QDRO terms for alternate payees
  5. Evaluation process and procedures necessary when rejecting a proposed QDRO


Ms. McBurney will address the most common issues that arise in the administration of QDROs and how to avoid them, including:

  • Where do QDROs come from?
  • Department of Labor requirements for Plan Administrators
  • Top Ten Tips for avoiding QDRO problems
  • Different QDRO issues for defined benefit plans vs defined contribution plans
  • DRO issues for nonqualified plans


McBurney, Emily
Emily W. McBurney

QDRO Attorney, President
Emily W. McBurney

Ms. McBurney practices in the area of taxation and domestic relations and family law. She is a recognized...  |  Read More

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