Most QDROs Are Drafted Within About Two Days, Almost All in Less Than a Week
Most QDROs are drafted within about two days after we have the necessary information from the two Parties and general QDRO information from the plan administrator.
Today, with the efficiency of the internet, very few take longer than a week. (Except that some union retirement plans will not communicate via email and will only use US Mail, thus they drag out the process. And Colorado PERA will communicate only by US Mail.)
Pre-Approval by the Plan Administrator
Most QDROs should be reviewed and pre-approved by the plan administrator before the QDRO is signed by both Parties and submitted to the Court for the Judge's approval.
Except that if Fidelity is the QDRO processor for the employer, pre-approval is not needed.
In contrast, other plans like Colorado PERA and some union plans are slow to provide pre-approval and they will only use the US Mail to communicate. And more recently beginning in about 2014 to now in 2016, life insurance companies are taking 30 days or longer.
Getting the QDRO Through the Court and Getting the Final QDRO Processing into a New Account
If an attorney is submitting the QDRO to the court for the Judge's approval, the approval is done and transmitted back usually within a couple of days.
If one of the Parties submits the QDRO by US Mail or hand delivery, the court may take 10 days to 2 weeks to get the Judge's approval. Then the notification by US Mail takes another 10 days to 2 weeks.
After a court-certified copy of the Judge-approved QDRO is sent to the employer or its third party QDRO processor, the new account for the Alternate Payee is usually set up within a week to 10 days. Except, one again, some union plans and life insurance companies take about 30 days or longer (and the life insurance companies charge very high processing fees.)