Domestic Relation Orders (DROs)

A DRO is short for “domestic relations order.” Whenever a divorce involves the division of a retirement plan, whether it be a 401(k), 403(b), 457, profit-sharing or pension plan, it usually means that a DRO will be needed. A DRO is a court order that is in addition to your judgment of divorce and its purpose is to tell the plan administrator of a retirement plan how to divide specific retirement benefits in order to make the division consistent with the terms of your judgment of divorce.

  • There are several types of DROs, depending on the type of retirement plan being divided. The list includes the following:
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)
  • “Qualified” plans under ERISA include 401(k), 403(b), 457, profit-sharing, ESOP and pension plans
  • Eligible Domestic Relations Order (EDRO)
  • “Eligible” plans include pensions under the Michigan Judges Retirement System, Michigan Employees Retirement System, Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System and Michigan State Police Retirement System
  • Orders for the division of federal retirement benefits (civilian or servicemember)
  • Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)
  • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
  • Order Dividing IRA Accounts (if judgment is insufficient to identify the IRA being divided)