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Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is a court order that creates a right for a person other than the member, called an “alternate payee,” to receive all or a portion of your retirement plan benefit to divide marital property or provide child support. An alternate payee must be your spouse, former spouse, child, or other eligible dependent. Typically, QDROs are used to divide property between an ex-spouse during a divorce. 

Continue reading below to find how to submit a QDRO, answers to frequently asked questions, and other resources.


The board of trustees adopted a uniform model QDRO that can be downloaded for your use. This model QDRO contains instructions for you or your attorney to follow.

It is important to follow the instructions in the model QDRO because if the model is not substantially followed, APERS will reject the QDRO and you will have to get a new QDRO signed by the judge that can be accepted by APERS.  The reason for this is that APERS cannot provide or administer a benefit that is not already allowed under APERS’ retirement plan laws.  To help you with any concerns before submitting a proposed QDRO for the judge’s signature, you can ask APERS to assist you with questions about your benefits or about submitting an order that substantially follows our model QDRO. If you have other questions about QDROs, you should seek legal advice.

Once the QDRO is signed by the judge, you, the alternate payee, or an attorney representing either of you can submit the QDRO to APERS. This last step is very important, so make sure the QDRO is filed with APERS to avoid a disruption in administration of the benefits as ordered in the QDRO.  The alternate payee is responsible for informing APERS of any change in their address.


You can submit a QDRO in the following ways:

124 W Capitol Ave., Ste 400
Little Rock, AR 72202
In PersonAPERS
124 W Capitol Ave.
4th Floor
Little Rock, AR 72202

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I get a model QDRO?

When can my alternate payee begin receiving payments?

The QDRO will specify when that benefit payments to the alternate payee begin.

If you are not yet retired, then either:

  • Upon the date you retire and begin receiving a monthly retirement benefit, or
  • Upon your request to receive a refund of your contributions, which is only available if you cease to be a member of APERS.

If you are already retired, monthly benefits to the alternate payee begin the month following the date we approve the order.

What happens under a QDRO if the member was contributory and asks for a refund of their contributions?

  • A contributory member can only get a refund of contributions after they terminate employment.
  • A contributory member who receives a refund of contributions also forfeits their monthly benefit, and the alternate payee won’t receive a benefit, either.
  • Alternate payees may be entitled to a portion of refunded contributions if ordered in the QDRO.

What happens if either party dies before receiving a monthly benefit from APERS?

  • If the member dies before retirement, the alternate payee will not receive a monthly benefit but can receive a refund of member contributions. The QDRO will specify whether the alternate payee receives a percentage or a set dollar amount of your contributions.
  • If the alternate payee dies before receiving any benefit or payment, the entire amount that may have been due to the alternate payee reverts to the member.

Am I required to submit a copy of my divorce decree or other settlement agreement to APERS?

No. Only a QDRO, signed by the judge, can be administered by APERS to divide your retirement benefit.

Do I have to use the APERS QDRO model to divide my benefits?

  • Yes. This QDRO model is adopted by the board and approved by the Arkansas General Assembly and cannot be substantially modified.

What happens when the APERS receives the QDRO?

  • If the member is not or was not vested for future benefits on the divorce date, APERS will notify the member and the alternate payee that there are no benefits to divide and the QDRO is rejected by APERS.
  • If a member is vested and corrections to the QDRO need to be made, a letter will be sent outlining those corrections.
  • If the QDRO qualifies, it will be filed and administered by APERS according to the QDRO.

How is the Benefit Payment determined under QDRO?

  • The parties to the QDRO agree whether the monthly benefit is drawn during the member’s lifetime or the alternate payee’s lifetime.
  • The parties to the QDRO agree whether the alternate payee will receive a percentage of the member’s benefit or a specific dollar amount.
  • The estimate for the member is prepared using the current benefit formula, service only accrued during the dates of the marriage, and the member’s salary projected through the date of divorce.

Can I get an estimate of the monthly benefit to the alternate payee?

  • APERS can provide an estimate of benefits under a proposed QDRO to the member.
  • If the member signs a notarized release of their member information, then the alternate payee or the alternate payee’s attorney may receive an estimate of benefits.


Disclaimer on Benefits and Rights

Disclaimer Concerning Benefit Calculations, Benefit Projections, Counseling, and Certain Conditions Regarding APERS Benefits and Rights

The purpose of this Disclaimer is to summarize, in plain language, existing APERS policy concerning benefit calculations, benefit projections, counseling, and certain conditions regarding APERS benefits and rights. This Disclaimer does not reflect any alteration or amendment of existing APERS policy. This site includes general information about APERS programs and benefits and may not represent or include completely the law and/or rules that govern APERS. Arkansas law and/or administrative rules will supersede any information in conflict.

APERS strives to provide accurate information and assistance to plan participants who have questions regarding their APERS benefits. All information and calculations concerning benefits are based upon current law and policy, even though information often concerns future benefits. Likewise, laws and policies affecting plan participants are subject to change from time to time. The Arkansas General Assembly, U. S. Congress, federal agencies, and the APERS Board of Trustees may change how benefits are calculated and change other rights of plan participants. Any benefit projection or information provided by APERS is subject to future law or policy that is applicable to APERS.

APERS staff depends upon information provided by the plan participants and offers counseling and projects future benefit estimates based upon that information. Such estimates can vary materially from actual results. Calculations concerning benefits, as well as the information APERS provides during counseling, can be materially affected if the plan participant provides inaccurate or incomplete information, or omits material facts. Plan participants are presumed to have knowledge of all publicly available laws and policies that affect their APERS benefits and rights. APERS is under no duty to ensure that plan participants are specifically informed of a new law or policy unless required within the law or policy itself. If APERS attempts to notify plan participants who may be affected by a change of a law or policy, the failure to notify a specific plan participant does not create any right or cause of action for the plan participant.

APERS does not provide plan participants with specific recommendations regarding retirement options, tax advice, or legal advice. Each plan participant is solely responsible for determining whether benefit calculations, benefit projections, benefit estimates, and retirement plan options are suitable for the plan participant based upon his or her specific retirement objectives and personal and financial situation. APERS encourages plan participants to consult their own lawyer, accountant, tax professional, or other retirement adviser before making a decision that affects their benefits and rights regarding APERS.

Federal law and policy, state law and policy, APERS records and documents, and accurate data always govern the final determination of plan participant benefits and rights. An error by APERS does not create any common law rights on behalf of the plan participant. The rights of a plan participant are solely governed by the rights set forth in law and policy applicable to APERS.