QDRO Lawyer

Dividing The Retirement Nest Egg In Divorce

Perhaps you planned and saved with your golden years in mind. But now that you are divorcing, your retirement investments must be divided along with the rest of your property. Because of the complex considerations, division of retirement assets is often resolved through a qualified domestic relation order, or QDRO.

I am James E. Smith II, an attorney in Keyser, West Virginia. I have extensive experience with QDROs and other complex property division matters. I draft and review QDROs for my divorce clients, and I regularly provide the same service for other attorneys in West Virginia, Maryland and beyond.

Extensive Experience With Divorce And QDROs

A qualified domestic relations order stipulates how qualified retirement plans will be divided or distributed in divorce. A QDRO may cover:

  • Company pensions
  • 401(k) plans
  • Individual retirement accounts (IRA)
  • Employee stock ownership plans (ESOP)
  • Other defined benefit and ERISA-governed plans

Military pensions and government pensions are not subject to QDROs, but may be considered marital property. I am knowledgeable about the special rules that apply in dividing those benefits.


A QDRO is like a mutual fund of all the couple's retirement plans. Both spouses are presumed to have an ownership stake in the whole "nest egg," no matter who was the breadwinner or listed as the plan participant. Each spouse is assigned a percentage share of the QDRO, in line with an equitable distribution of the marital estate. A QDRO also specifies the time and manner of transfer, such as a rollover into a spouse's own IRA or 401(k). I am confident that I can protect your fair share and that the QDRO will be approved by the plan administrator and upheld by the divorce court.

I am an attorney and a CPA. I do the QDRO work myself.

As a licensed attorney with 23 years of experience and a practicing Certified Public Accountant (CPA), I am uniquely qualified to protect your interests. I can address not only the legal considerations but the complicated calculations, projections, tax consequences and early withdrawal penalties of 401(k) and pension division.

I have represented paper mill workers, federal employees, teachers, police and correctional officers, and other clients with substantial pensions and retirement accounts. The fact that other attorneys bring their QDROs to me is perhaps the best testament of my expertise in this area of law. I take the same thoughtful approach to the broader divorce settlement. As a solo lawyer, you will work personally with me throughout your case.

If you need a QDRO attorney in Keyser or the surrounding areas of West Virginia and Maryland, call 304-209-6204 or 877-405-9337, or contact me online.