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SUMMARY OF OHIO CASE LAW RELATING TO QDRO'S AND DISTRIBUTION OF RETIREMENT BENEFITS

RETIREMENT BENEFITS ACQUIRED DURING THE MARRIAGE CONSTITUTE MARITAL ASSETS; COURT MAY MODIFY QDRO AFTER ENTRY OF DIVORCE DECREE:

Kingery v. Kingery, Logan App. No. 8-05-02, 2005-Ohio-3608:

"Retirement benefits acquired during a marriage are a marital asset that must be divided equitably between the spouses in a decree of divorce that terminates the marriage.***Once a division of property is established in the divorce decree that decision 'is not subject to future modification by the court.' R.C. 3105.171(I). Accordingly, the trial court lacks jurisdiction to modify the division of marital property.***'However, a trial court does have the power to clarify and construe its original property division in order to effectuate its judgment.' Thus, a trial court has the authority to properly clarify the meaning of a divorce decree in the event the decree is ambiguous.***"

Bagley v. Bagley, 181 Ohio App. 3d 141, 908 N.E.2d 469 (2009):

The QDRO implements a trial court's decision of how a pension is to be divided incident to divorce or dissolution." Wilson v. Wilson, 116 Ohio St.3d 268, 2007-Ohio-6056, 878 N.E.2d 16, ¶ 7. "[A] divorce decree is a final, appealable order, regardless of whether it calls for a QDRO that has not yet issued; the QDRO merely implements the divorce decree." Id. at ¶ 15. Consequently, "[a] QDRO is merely an order in aid of execution on the property division ordered in the divorce or dissolution decree. So long as the QDRO is consistent with the decree, it does, not constitute a modification, which R.C. 3105.171(1) prohibits, and the court does not lack jurisdiction to issue it."

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