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Property division: Federal appeals court involved in QDRO issue

Maryland couples and others around the nation have a plethora of decisions to make when they decide to get divorced. Property division tends to be near the top of the list of issues to address. Certainly, how to divide retirement funds is one of the more complex questions in the divorce proceedings. Though there are specific governmental requirements regarding division of these accounts, there is still room for interpretation of the regulations. A federal appeals court recently became involved in a case regarding dispensation of a divorced couples' life insurance benefits.

A couple that divorced in 2006 had included in their agreement that their employer life insurance policies would be maintained until their daughter turned 18 years old or graduated from high school.  At the time of the agreement, the husband had a policy through his employer that named his uncle as beneficiary. He failed to name his daughter as beneficiary before his death in 2013.

The life insurance company was instructed to pay the insurance policy proceeds to the daughter after they determined that the couple's divorce decree was, in effect, a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO. The decree had specifically named the daughter as beneficiary. The issue also went before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where it was affirmed. Although the insurance company offered numerous arguments against the decision, the court ruled that the couple's divorce agreement had met the requirements of a QDRO.

Retirement accounts are just part of a couple's life that must be divided when they go through a divorce. A Maryland attorney can provide much-needed guidance on matters of property division and any others related to the divorce. A knowledgeable lawyer will work on a client's behalf to ensure the best possible outcome in the proceedings.

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