Dividing an IRA Without a QDRO
Usually, an IRA does not have to be divided by a QDRO or any other court order.
Instead, it just takes the written agreement of the former spouses and the final court decree. Usually a letter of instruction by the owner of the IRA and an application by the recipient of a portion of the IRA is all that is needed.
As with other retirement assets, once the asset is divided, the former spouse who received a portion of the IRA should remove it from the control of the IRA administrator and move it.
However, if the court order (or separation agreement) is not clear as to the division of an IRA, then a court Order similar to a Judge-signed QDRO may be required by the IRA plan administrator.
Also, sometimes if the IRA amount being transferred is very large or the IRA is self-directed, the IRA custodian will require a court order similar to a QDRO.