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
  • Order for the Division of Federal Retirement Benefits (Civilian or Service Member)
    • Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)
    • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
  • Order Dividing IRA Accounts (if judgment is insufficient to identify the IRA being divided)
  • Order Dividing Railroad Benefits