CQS Program Overview

Module 1 (CQS I) – Principles of Retirement Plans in Divorce

Description

CQS I is an introductory module developed to familiarize the candidate on the role they may play within their company or the issues encountered  if their sole practice is dedicated to preparing QDROs.

Principles of Retirement Plans in Divorce

Retirement Plans as Marital Assets

Introduction

Evolution of Retirement Plans as Marital Assets

Legislation Affecting ERISA Plans

Legislation Affecting Non-ERISA Plans

Basic Terms & Definitions

Valuation & Offset or Divide by a QDRO

Offsetting Marital Property

Deferred Distribution Method (QDRO)

Combination of Approaches

Retirement Plans as A Source of Alimony & Child Support 

Difference Between being an asset and being considered for

alimony or child support

Practical Applications

The Role & Responsibility of the Certified QDRO 

                        Specialist & Certified QDRO Analyst

As an expert to the court

As an advisor to the parties

Enhanced Role of the Benefits Specialist/HR 

                        Professional as a CQS/CQA

Types of Retirement Plans Encountered in Divorce

Major Types of Plans

Specific Pension Plans and Retirement Accounts

Discovery

Terminated Plans

Discovery Techniques, Tools & Practical Applications

Confronting an uncooperative plan administrator

The first end of module test fee for each module is included in the module fee. Subsequent retakes of the end of module exam is charged separately. The Final Certification Exam Fee, and any subsequent retake certification exams, is an additional charge. Modules and exams are subject to a 5.75% sales tax in addition to the fee itself.If the candidate does not pass the first end of module exam with a score of 70% or better, the Module Exam will have to be retaken with a Retake Fee of $20

To be become a Certified QDRO Specialist the candidate must pass the final exam with a score of 70% or better. The cost to take the final exam is less expensive if the final exam is taken online. If your company or industry requires the exam to be proctored AACQP utilizes the services of SMT/ISO Quality Testing, Inc. (IQT) with locations around the U.S. CQS Online Final Certification Exam (non-proctored) $242, Proctored Final Certification Exam $290. Retake fee for online exam is $75 and for Proctored retake exam fee is $140. Certification is not granted based on the purchase of only the final exam.

Testing Information
Upon the completion of a module the candidate will be required to complete a brief end of module exam comprised of 50 questions.  The fee for each module test is included in the initial module fee. Subsequent retakes of the end of module exam will result in an additional fee to the candidate.  Modules and exams are subject to a 5.75% sales tax in addition to the fee itself.  If the candidate does not pass the first end of module exam with a score of 70% or better, the Module Exam will have to be retaken with a Retake Fee of $20.

Upon completion of all four modules a final certification exam is required to become certified.  The Final Certification Exam Fee, and any subsequent retake certification exams, is an additional charge. To be become a Certified QDRO Specialist the candidate must pass the final exam with a score of 70% or better. The cost to take the final exam is less expensive if the final exam is taken online. If your company or industry requires the exam to be proctored, AACQP utilizes the services of SMT/ISO Quality Testing, Inc. (IQT) with locations around the U.S. The fee for the CQS Online Final Certification Exam (non-proctored) is $242.  The Proctored Final Certification Exam is $290. Retake fee for online exam is $75 and for Proctored retake exam fee is $140. Certification is not granted based on the purchase of only the final exam.

Annual Membership to AACQP: To join the American Association of Certified QDRO Professionals, it is not necessary to have completed the certification process. Members that have completed the course pay a lower annual fee ($125) than affiliated members ($225), however, both are entitled to the same benefits, which includes updates/newsletters, resources, and periodic consultation on specific issues.

Annual Membership to AACQP: To join the American Association of Certified QDRO Professionals, it is not necessary to have completed the certification process. Members that have completed the course pay a lower annual fee ($125) than affiliated members ($225), however, both are entitled to the same benefits, which includes updates/newsletters, resources, and periodic consultation on specific issues.

 

 

Module 2 (CQS II) – Effectively Preparing QDROs and Like Orders

Description

Introduction to QDROs in Divorce

CQS II draws attention to the basics of preparing most QDROs within the private sector.

Following is an outline of the topics covered:

Introduction to QDROs & Related Court Orders

Introduction

QDRO Requirements & Special Terms

Beginning a Draft QDRO

Must a Plan Provide QDRO Guidelines?

Information Needed to Prepare a Basic QDRO

QDRO Process

Timing of QDROs & Posthumous QDROs

Types of QDROs & Benefit Division Methods

Types of QDROs – Separate vs. Shared Interest QDROs

Benefit & Payment Options Under a Defined Benefit Plan

Implementing a QDRO – 8 Simple Steps

Top 10 Reasons Plans Will Reject a QDRO

Basic Defined Contribution Plan QDROs

Differences in 401(k)s, Profit Sharing Plans, & ESOPs

Valuation Dates

Earnings, Gains and/or Losses

Impact of Loans & Loan Language

Timing of Distributions

Preparing your Defined Contribution Plan QDRO

QDROs for IRAs

Basic Defined Benefit Plan QDROs

Traditional Defined Benefit Pension Plan vs. Cash Balance Plan

Types of Awards

Separate vs. Shared Interest

Accounting for Contingencies, disability, death of either party

Cost of Living Adjustments

Preparing Your Defined Benefit Plan QDRO

Third Party QDRO Administrators

Introduction

Hewitt Orders

Fidelity QDROs

Voya

PBGC QDROs          

Purpose of the PBGC

PBGC Defined Benefit QDRO

Using QDROs to Collateralize Debt 

Security vs. Risk

Expanding on Child Support & Child Support Arrearages

Reserving Jurisdiction for Entry of a QDRO

Entry of a QDRO prior to divorce

Suggested Settlement Agreement Language

For Defined Benefit Plans (Pensions)

For Defined Contribution Plans

For Federal Retirement Systems

For Military Retired Pay

QDRO Liability Issues

Entry of the QDRO

Survivor Benefits

Gains & Losses/Valuation Date

Use of Model QDROs

Sample QDROs

The first end of module test fee for each module is included in the module fee. Subsequent retakes of the end of module exam is charged separately. The Final Certification Exam Fee, and any subsequent retake certification exams, is an additional charge. Modules and exams are subject to a 5.75% sales tax in addition to the fee itself.If the candidate does not pass the first end of module exam with a score of 70% or better, the Module Exam will have to be retaken with a Retake Fee of $20

To be become a Certified QDRO Specialist the candidate must pass the final exam with a score of 70% or better. The cost to take the final exam is less expensive if the final exam is taken online. If your company or industry requires the exam to be proctored AACQP utilizes the services of SMT/ISO Quality Testing, Inc. (IQT) with locations around the U.S. CQS Online Final Certification Exam (non-proctored) $242, Proctored Final Certification Exam $290. Retake fee for online exam is $75 and for Proctored retake exam fee is $140. Certification is not granted based on the purchase of only the final exam.

Annual Membership to AACQP: To join the American Association of Certified QDRO Professionals, it is not necessary to have completed the certification process. Members that have completed the course pay a lower annual fee ($125) than affiliated members ($225), however, both are entitled to the same benefits, which includes updates/newsletters, resources, and periodic consultation on specific issues.

Module 3 (CQS III) – Federal Retirement Plans in Divorce – Strategies & Issues

Description

Introduction to Federal Retirement Plans in Divorce

CQS III is concentrated on dividing retirement plans associated with the federal government, the largest employer in the country.  Emphasis is placed on the treatment of the former spouse and the differences between retirement plans sponsored by the federal government as oppose to those retirement plans in the private sector.

CSRS/FERS vs. Private Sector Pensions

                        Terms & Definitions Used 

What Federal Benefits Are Valued or Divided in Divorce

Accumulated Sick & Annual Leave Pay

Applying Military Years & Affect on Divorce

Computing the Accrued Monthly CSRS/FERS/CSRS Offset Annuity 

A Brief Introduction to a Valuation of CSRS/FERS 

                        Retirement Annuity

                        Pension Valuation Basics

Tax Discounts

Application of Military Years

Determining the Marital Portion

Determining the Marital Portion of the Monthly FERS

/CSRS Annuity

Different Approaches to Defining the Marital Portion 

FERS/CSRS In-Pay (Retired)

Options Available to Federal Employees in Divorce

Determining the Value of Survivor Annuity – An Asset to the

Former Spouse

Determining the Cost/Reduction to Provide a Survivor Annuity

under CSRS and FERS 

CSRS & Social Security

                        Difference Between CSRS & FERS

Inequity for CSRS Members

Approaches to Extracting Social Security Element

Windfall Profit Elimination Rule & Other Offsets 

Court Order Division – COAP Strategies & Issues I

What Constitutes a “Court Order for Processing”

Historical Perspective

Discovery

Alimony & Child Support

FERS Supplement

Court Order Division – COAP Strategies & Issues II

Crafting the COAP

Apportioning the Retirement Annuity

Method of Apportionment, Dollar Amount, Percentage, Formula

–  Awarding a Fixed Dollar Amount Per Month

–  Awarding a Percentage of the Retirement Annuity

–  Awarding a Prorata Share at Retirement

–  Awarding a Formula or a Fraction

–  Additional Benefit Considerations

Addressing the Potential for a Refund of Contribution

Death of a Former Spouse

Death of the Federal Employee Spouse

Completing the COAP 

CSRS & FERS Disability Annuity

Computing Disability Retirement Under FERS

Determining What is “Marital”

Suggested Language

Thrift Savings Plan & Divorce Issues 

                        Gains & Losses

Loans

Retirement Benefits Court Order

Computing the Marital Portion – Contributions & Earnings

The first end of module test fee for each module is included in the module fee. Subsequent retakes of the end of module exam is charged separately. The Final Certification Exam Fee, and any subsequent retake certification exams, is an additional charge. Modules and exams are subject to a 5.75% sales tax in addition to the fee itself.If the candidate does not pass the first end of module exam with a score of 70% or better, the Module Exam will have to be retaken with a Retake Fee of $20

To be become a Certified QDRO Specialist the candidate must pass the final exam with a score of 70% or better. The cost to take the final exam is less expensive if the final exam is taken online. If your company or industry requires the exam to be proctored AACQP utilizes the services of SMT/ISO Quality Testing, Inc. (IQT) with locations around the U.S. CQS Online Final Certification Exam (non-proctored) $242, Proctored Final Certification Exam $290. Retake fee for online exam is $75 and for Proctored retake exam fee is $140. Certification is not granted based on the purchase of only the final exam.

Annual Membership to AACQP: To join the American Association of Certified QDRO Professionals, it is not necessary to have completed the certification process. Members that have completed the course pay a lower annual fee ($125) than affiliated members ($225), however, both are entitled to the same benefits, which includes updates/newsletters, resources, and periodic consultation on specific issues.

Module 4 (CQS IV) – Division of Military Retired Pay & Specialty Orders

Description

Understanding the Division of Military Retired Pay & Specialty Orders in Divorce

Introduction to Military Retired Pay 

Simple Rules

– 10/10 Rule

– 1 Year Rule

– 90 Day Rule

– Maximum 50% Rule

– VA Waiver

– SBP Rules

– 20-Year Cliff Vesting

– VSI

– SSB

Historical Perspective

Full-Time Active vs. Reservist/National Guard Retired Pay

Basic Retired Pay Calculations for Military Divorce

A Good Year

Ready Reserve

Computing the Accrued Monthly Retired Pay

1. Reservist/National Guard

2. Full-Time Active Members

3. Full-Time Active w/Reservist Years

Dividing Military Retired Pay  

Introduction

Discovery

Relevant Background Information/Requirements

SBP & Former Spouse’s Rights

Disability Pay & VA Waiver

Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC)

Additional Benefits for a Former Spouse

Specifics on Dividing Retired Pay as Marital Property

Crafting the Military Order

Additional Provisions to be Included in the Order

 Valuing & Dividing Railroad Retirement

                        Valuing Railroad Benefits

Dividing Railroad Benefits

Tier I Benefits

Division of Tier II Benefits

Dividing Pension Plans Exempt from QDROs

Basic Understanding of Non-Qualified Pension Plans

Allocating the Former Spouse’s Share

A Better Approach

Crafting the QDRO (Like) Order

 Dividing Non-Qualified Defined Contribution Plans

Code Section 457 deferred Compensation Plans

Suggested Language for 457 Deferred Compensation Plans

Deferred Compensation Plans Not Subject to QDROs

Takeaways

 Dividing IRAs in Divorce

                        Introduction to Dividing IRAs in Divorce

IRA QDRO References to I.R.C. 408

Division of Land Trust

 State Retirement Systems

Types of Benefits & Benefit Options

Separation Benefits or Refund of Contributions

CALPERS

New York State & Local Retirement System

Florida Retirement System

Wisconsin Retirement System

Ohio Public Employees retirement System

Illinois TRS/SRS/SURS – QUILDRO

Takeaways

Suggested Settlement Agreement Language

Missteps & Miscues and How to Avoid Them

Consulting on the Preparation of Settlement Agreements

References/Issues with Traditional Defined Benefit Plans

Common Municipal Pension References

Expert Testimony 

Expert Witness Testimony Based on Experience

Expert Witness Testimony Based on Education

Examples of Specific Questions

Issues Related to COLAs

Questions/Issues Related to Defined Contribution Plans

Questions/Issues Surrounding Federal Retirement Plans

Question Surrounding the Division of Military Retired Pay

Summary

The first end of module test fee for each module is included in the module fee. Subsequent retakes of the end of module exam is charged separately. The Final Certification Exam Fee, and any subsequent retake certification exams, is an additional charge. Modules and exams are subject to a 5.75% sales tax in addition to the fee itself.If the candidate does not pass the first end of module exam with a score of 70% or better, the Module Exam will have to be retaken with a Retake Fee of $20

To be become a Certified QDRO Specialist the candidate must pass the final exam with a score of 70% or better. The cost to take the final exam is less expensive if the final exam is taken online. If your company or industry requires the exam to be proctored AACQP utilizes the services of SMT/ISO Quality Testing, Inc. (IQT) with locations around the U.S. CQS Online Final Certification Exam (non-proctored) $242, Proctored Final Certification Exam $290. Retake fee for online exam is $75 and for Proctored retake exam fee is $140. Certification is not granted based on the purchase of only the final exam.

Annual Membership to AACQP: To join the American Association of Certified QDRO Professionals, it is not necessary to have completed the certification process. Members that have completed the course pay a lower annual fee ($125) than affiliated members ($225), however, both are entitled to the same benefits, which includes updates/newsletters, resources, and periodic consultation on specific issues.