Summary: Because of the increased use of computer technology, divorce QDRO preparation fees are usually done on a low fixed fee basis. We do about 97% of all plans at our low fixed attorney fee. Our fees are kept low because we no longer do QDROs for about 3% of the plans which are uncooperative and intentionally delay the process or if it has been several years after the Decree was issued. And over the past more than 15 years we have done QDROs for almost every employer in Colorado, thus we likely already have the QDRO template in our computer. (Although with the insurance companies taking over many of the retirement plans, it is becoming more difficult.)
For most Colorado QDROs and similar court orders, the following fixed fees apply:
- 401(k), 403(b), 457, and similar defined contribution plans: $275.00
- Colorado PERA plans: $275.00
- Most defined benefit pension plans, such as standard corporate annuity or pension plans: $350.00.
- Federal civil service, TPS, and FERS plans: $275.00 to $350.00 (assumes court orders are detailed)
For two or more plans, a 50% reduced fee for all plans after the first one applies, because the plans are between the same two former spouses. Much of the information used in the separate plans for the same case is the same. So, we recognize the economy of scale by giving a 50% discount.
Our fees are low because after more than 15 years of doing QDROs, we have done multiple QDROs for almost every employer in Colorado. So, we already have computer files for almost every QDRO that comes in the door. We don't have to re-invent the wheel. And the increased use of computer technology and the use of emails further increases our efficiency.
Except that some of the plans are becoming more difficult because the insurance industry is taking over many of the retirement plans. And it attempts to delay the QDRO process as long as possible in order to "earn" more fees.
And rather than increase fees for everyone, we no longer do QDROs for about 3% of the retirement plans which are intentionally difficult to work with. Particularly some union plans. And we tend to no longer do QDROs if a number of years has passed since the divorce was otherwise completed.