When disclosing or researching your marital property in a Maryland divorce action, it is important that clients are informed that any portion of a retirement account accrued during the marriage is marital property. For more information on marital property in Maryland, see Maryland Code, Family Law 8-203 and see August 19, 2009 blog. The courts in Maryland have the authority to transfer any percentage of the martial portion of the retirement account whether it be a pension, profit sharing plan, deferred compensation plan, thrift savings account, 401k or IRA from one spouse to the other, Maryland Code, Family Law §8-205. The court may apply one of several methods when valuing the marital portion of the retirement account, all of which an attorney would be able to advise you.
In order for a portion of the retirement benefit to be transferred a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, otherwise known as a QDRO, must be signed by a Judge and submitted to the plan administrator. The QDRO is an order by the court to modify the payee of all or a portion of the retirement plan. Each plan administrator may require a different type of QDRO and QDRO’s must comply with the ERISA (The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) laws, so it may be important to hire an attorney to assist you in this drafting process.