Often, one spouse may have more retirement monies (IRA, Simple SEP, 401-k) then the other spouse. In equitably dividing assets during the course of a divorce, it is not at all uncommon for monies to be transferred from one spouse to the other to insure a fair division of assets.
Because retirement monies are given special tax considerations by the government, you need to divide most retirement monies through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). In these circumstances, an order is prepared which sets out, among other things, the share or amount of the money being transferred, the date for the transfer, costs for the transfer, and whether or not the monies are subject to market conditions. Once the order is prepared, it is sent to the company that is holding your spouse’s retirement monies. Once the company approves the form of the order, the order is then sent to the judge presiding over your case. Once the order is signed by the judge, the order is then sent back to the company holding the monies and the division of the monies are made. This process can take place quickly or take several months depending on the company that his holding the retirement monies.