It is a common misunderstanding that I, as a QDRO attorney, know how much Parties will receive. As a QDRO
attorney, my job is more comparable to a translator than a financial advisor or a CPA. Usually
I need not see the records to translate the terms of your judgment into a QDRO that your Plan
Administrator will implement. This means I do not know how much money is in the account
I’m dividing or what Parties will ultimately receive.
If your judgment says divide the community interest equally, I translate that into a
format/formula that works with your Plan Administrator. Different Plan Administrators
have different rules and that is why the job of a QDRO attorney exists-because court orders
that say divide the community interest (or divide this dollar amount, or this percentage, ect)
have to be translated into different formats depending on if the plan is military, state, county,
city, federal, union, or private (and even private plans’ requirements differ from company to
company). I write up a formula that divides the community interest and the plan
administrator looks up the records and does the calculations and split.
If you have concerns about the plan calculating your numbers properly, then I can
review and run numbers for you for a fee. However, if you read the formula in the QDRO and
look at your own records, you can likely do your own calculations, which I would encourage
you to do.
In some cases, number crunching will be required (most commonly when the custodian of a 401(k) switches, but does not take over the records from the prior custodian) and I am perfectly capable of crunching numbers for you. I also offer free separate property tracing calculators on my website, if you are mathematically inclined and wish to crunch the numbers on your own.