Another example is where you say whether a loan is supposed to be included or excluded. Everybody makes this mistake. A magnanimous husband might say that he doesn’t want his wife to bear the brunt of a loan, so he says the loan is “excluded,” but if you are the wife you want the loan included. It’s counter-intuitive, and I don’t want to get into the tiny details that makes that so, but it’s just so filled with pitfalls that you have to have an expert working on it.
Considering how important retirement funds are to a divorce, why don’t you think QDRO gets more attention?
There are a bunch of reasons. The top one is that you’d be surprised how few people understand anything about their own retirement benefits. I have dealt with super-high-level executives with multiple business degrees and they have no idea of the different forms of retirement benefits and they lump it together, but really they have all different plans, restrictions, and criteria. So there’s just some kind of general ignorance, and a complete resistance to understanding it. It makes everybody's eyes glaze over and all you have to do is say "retirement plan" and their brain shuts down. It sounds really boring. But in the real world where it’s played out, it can make the difference between a retiree living in comfort or eating cat food for the rest of their days.