You just entered your client’s Divorce Decree or Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage or Consent Degree in a State other than Illinois. Maybe you are in Arizona, California, Florida or any other State with many Illinoisans or former Illinoisans. Your client or his/her ex-spouse had interest in an Illinois State pension, like IMRF or TRS or SERS or SURS, or a municipal firefighters or police or Chicago Laborers plan. The Judgment/Decree grants the non-participant in that Plan half of the marital portion of the participant’s interest, perhaps even states that a Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order (QILDRO) will be entered, that the participant will cooperate, etc. What now?
Illinois has cumbersome requirements for out-of-state attorneys to appear on behalf of clients in Illinois cases, including needing to associate with an Illinois attorney. Further, while some jurisdictions allow representing both parties, Illinois does not (with a very limited exception not applicable in most QILDRO cases). Therefore, if you represented/advised both parties previously, you would have a conflict of interest filing for entry of QILDRO on behalf of one party.
An Illinois attorney can petition to register the foreign divorce decree, provide notice to the Clerk of Court of the issuing jurisdiction, and motion-up the QILDRO for entry. If the Judgment/Decree for Dissolution of Marriage is clear and the parties are on the same page, this can be accomplished expeditiously. The Illinois attorney can take all the steps to complete the matter: draft and obtain pre-approval of the QILDRO from the Plan Administrator; file everything in court; and provide a certified copy of the QILDRO once entered, along with the participant’s Consent to Issuance of QILDRO, if needed.
The Illinois attorney can be retained by either party. It is a good idea for you, as the attorney most familiar with the case, to make the initial contact with the Illinois lawyer. It will be quicker for the two of you to communicate being familiar with legal terminology, and serve as a vetting process to make sure that the attorney knows what he/she’s talking about. Thereafter, your client can retain the Illinois attorney, and the parties can split the cost by agreement.
Feel free to contact me for more information, at any part of the process. If you have any doubts about QILDRO language to include in the Divorce Decree or wish to run some numbers, I will gladly help out. In most cases, I can offer your client a flat fee for his/her out-of-state QILDRO case.