Is a QDRO Different From a Divorce Judgment in a Michigan Divorce?

Yes. A QDRO or EDRO is an order filed along with or after the divorce judgment, that directs the employer to pay certain benefits to the employee's former spouse (who is referred to as an "alternate payee" in the order). The employee is referred to as the "participant."

The divorce or separation judgment sets forth the specifics of the plan division, such as:

  • that the parties will split the proceeds of a certain account 50-50
  • surviving spouse benefits
  • early retirement benefits
  • cost of living increases

But the QDRO or EDRO is the document that actually generates the division. In other words, without the QDRO the employer will not pay out benefits.