Can I Get Rid Of My QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) By Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

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Can I Get Rid Of My QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) By Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

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I recently had a client who was interested in discharging a “QDRO” (qualified domestic relations order) under chapter 7 bankruptcy. I had to break it to her that this was probably not a possibility.

QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order and is often included in divorce agreements in which the community estate contains a retirement or pension plan. It functions to give the divorced spouse their share of the asset in question. QDROs apply only to those employee benefits or pension plans that are subject to ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. In plain English, a QDRO is a legal document that allows a retirement account or pension to be divided between two parties in a divorce, thus guaranteeing the alternate payee (the person receiving the interest) receives their due portion of the asset.

When it comes to Bankruptcy discharge, there is general little recourse for domestic support obligations, and QDROs are no exception. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (“BAPCPA”) directly addresses the lack of ability to discharge support obligations, defining “domestic support obligation” is any debt incurred before or after a bankruptcy filing that is owed to or recoverable by a spouse, former spouse, child or governmental unit; in the nature of alimony, maintenance or support; and established pursuant to the terms of a divorce decree, separation agreement, property settlement agreement, court order or administrative determination.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Christopher Ariano, Ariano and Reppucci PLLC | Attorney Advertising

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