A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is a court order in a domestic relations case that orders private pension or retirement plan benefits to be used to provide alimony or child support, or to divide marital property in a divorce. QDROs are authorized by the federal law known as ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. ERISA is a federal law that sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established pension and health plans in private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans.
Ohio public retirement accounts are exempt from ERISA and must be divided under state law by Division of Property Orders, known as DPOs or DOPOs.
Federal military benefits are governed by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act and are administered by the Office of Personnel Management. Federal civil service employees are governed by FERS(Federal Employees Retirement System) or CSRS(Civil Service Retirement System). The plan is designated according to the occupation and agency employing the employee. The mechanism provided for division of benefits is termed a COAP (Court Order Acceptable For Processing).
This page lists books we have at the Franklin County Law Library and provides a sample forms. Orders dividing retirement benefits are complicated. It is best to seek the advice of an attorney and your plan administrator.
Attorneys with a Franklin County Law Library card may check out these books. Other members of the public may use them in the Franklin County Law Library. The Library maintains the current edition of each of these books, unless otherwise noted.
Federal Laws governing QDROs
Selected Ohio Laws governing DPOs
Federal Regulations governing Court Orders Acceptable for Processing (COAPs)