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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
Phone: (201) 467-4180
Fax: (201) 997-9567
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Using a QDRO to ensure the payment of alimony and child support

Even with an alimony or child support order in place, actually receiving the agreed-upon payments is problematic for many people in New Jersey. Maybe the paying ex-spouse or noncustodial parent loses a job, and the support payments just aren't available. Or maybe he or she chooses not to honor the divorce settlement out of spite. In either case, if you are supposed to receive support payments but aren't, you should be aware of your legal options.

One increasingly popular tool for holding an ex-spouse accountable for support payments is a document called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO. In New Jersey, you can use a QDRO to lay claim to a portion of your ex-spouse's retirement account. That is, if the account is an ERISA-based plan and not an IRA.

Additionally, if your ex-spouse has a retirement plan with the New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits, you may be able to use a QDRO to receive child support, spousal support or marital property.

It is a good idea to have your attorney write a QDRO during your divorce or at the same time as the divorce judgment. You might not be able to create such a document later. In some cases, though, it may be possible to obtain delinquent support payments through your ex's retirement account, and, again, an attorney can help you make the appropriate decision.

Aside from a QDRO, an Alimony and Maintenance Trust can be established. This kind of trust involves the paying spouse's placing assets into the trust for distribution to the receiving ex-spouse or custodial parent. An alimony and maintenance trust also protects assets in the event that the paying spouse experiences a sudden drop in income.

Source: Forbes, "How To Get Your Ex-Husband To Honor The Financial Terms Of Your Divorce Settlement," Jeff Landers, Feb. 19, 2014

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