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A qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO, is a judgment that relates to the provision of child support, alimony payments, or marital property rights for the benefit of a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of one of the parties. Subsequent to a divorce or legal separation, this order allows the pension plan to pay benefits to someone other than the individual participating in the plan. A state authority must issue a judgment before it can be a domestic relations order under ERISA, a signed agreement alone is not sufficient. The QDRO may be a separate document or it may be part of the divorce decree as long as it meets the standards for a qualified domestic relations order.