Division of Retirement Assets in Separation Agreement

I am looking for assistance in how to get a “court-certified document” AFTER an absolute divorce. This was a DIY divorce with a separation agreement drafted and notarized in April 2015 laying out the details of the division of retirement assets. The divorce was granted January 6, 2017, but we did not file any equitable distribution claims to the courts with the divorce. We thought the notarized separation agreement would be suffice; critical error, I am now aware.

Would you be able to assist me in submitting a motion amending the divorce to incorporate a Domestic Relations Order, referencing the Notarized Separation Agreement, to split the retirement account as we have agreed upon? Or is there another way to go about doing this and getting the court-ordered document?

In order to obtain a QDRO (qualified domestic relations order - used to divide retirement accounts in a divorce), you will have to file an equitable distribution claim for the purpose of entering a QDRO only. Although once an absolute divorce judgment is entered, both parties are forever barred from asking the court to divide assets, oftentimes a separation agreement will include language stating that it is acceptable to file an equitable distribution action for the entry of a QDRO only.

A separation agreement does not have to be incorporated into the absolute divorce judgment in order to have a QDRO entered.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh

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