What can I do if my ex-husband didn’t complete the QDRO paperwork and now my 401K has been placed in a “freeze” status?

My ex-husband was awarded 40% of my 401K in our divorce which was final 6 years ago. My plan administrator sent his attoney the paperwork needed for the QDRO order but his attorney failed to ever send it back in. It is not almost 6 years since our divorce and since that order was never done, I have a freeze on my 401K account. My plan administrator said that the freeze will stay until that order is completed. I have tried to contact my ex-husband and his attorney about this but I don’t know where my ex is now and his attorney won’t return any calls. What are my options at this point? If I needed to take a loan against my account, I can’t even do that. I do not want to spend more money to have an attorney prepare the QDRO for him and besides that, I don’t have my ex-husband’s information to even give an attorney like address, contact information, etc.

Asked on June 11, 2012 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You need to file an motion to enforce the divorce decree to get the QDRO signed.  It will be harder to get it taken care of since the other attorney and your husband are not cooperative-- at this point.  However, it's not impossible.  You will need to have your ex-husband served and there alternative methods of service even beyond personal service.  You must make a diligent effort to try to locate him.  Once you exhaust your search, then you can file a motion for citation by publication-- essentially posting an ad in the paper.  It's going to take some work, but to get your account unfrozen and to move on with your life, the extra effort to get it done will be worth it. Make sure that you hire an attorney to help you, though, that has experience in handling family law matters.  This really should have been handled years ago and you don't want a repeat of that prior experience.

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