Castle Rock, CO asked in Divorce and Family Law for Colorado

Q: Does a qdro need to be done before a judge signs a divorce decree in Colorado?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Christopher N. Little
Christopher N. Little
  • Centennial, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Good Afternoon,

You ask a great question! In most cases, there is no statutory prerequisite concerning QDRO's that have to be met in order for the Court to enter a Dissolution of Decree of Marriage. Many times, a Separation Agreement (the agreement that details the manner and methods of the property distribution) will refer to a QDRO and the Separation Agreement will become an Order of the Court through the Decree. Often, once the Separation Agreement has been ordered, the process of drafting the QDRO begins.

Please note that these are general rules of thumb and that your case may very well have nuances that call for a different approach. Lastly, please note that while I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer and I highly suggest that you consult with a family law attorney before you move forward. QDRO's are an incredibly complex and technical area of law and often require the knowledge and skill of experienced counsel.


Christopher N. Little, Esq.

Managing Attorney

CNL Law Firm, PLLC


Steven  Visser
Steven Visser
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: No, a QDRO does not need to be completed prior to the divorce decree. However, it should be completed as a separate order as soon as possible.

Will Ellison
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  • Longmont, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: No, a QDRO does not need to be drafted and filed before the Decree is signed by the Judge.

It is possible you could file it with the other settlement documents, but it is not typical in most cases. The language included in QDROs often includes reference to the date the decree issued, so it usually can only be drafted after that date is know.

In most cases with attorneys, the QDRO is not prepared until after all settlement documents are filed and approved by the Judge and the Decree issued. Depending on the settlement terms, the language in many QDROs describing the calculation telling the Plan how to divide the account often includes the date of the decree. So in that situation you can't file the QDRO until you know the date of decree to write into it.

The QDRO is then prepared (either by the attorneys or a QDRO drafting expert), signed by the parties, and filed with Court for the Judge to sign.

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) are a confusing area of law. It's so confusing that many attorneys have the task completed by a QDRO drafting expert, rather than drafting it themselves. There can be important timelines to meet with some retirement assets.

This is just general information on QDROs and the court process. I am not your lawyer and I suggest that you consult with an attorney to review any documents settling your case.

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