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  1. Under ERISA and the tax Code, a retirement plan may allow an alternate payee’s QDRO distribution before the participant’s earliest retirement age. ERISA § 206(d)(3)(E)(ii); IRC § 414(p)(4)(A)-(B); 26 C.F.R. § 1.401(a)-13(g)(3). For individual-account (defined-contribution) retirement plans, many plan sponsors permit an immediate distribution to an alternate payee, perhaps because a practitioner or service provider suggested that to do so is simpler than keeping a court order open for many years while waiting for the participant to reach an earliest retirement age. (That’s been my advice.) Yet some plan sponsors might prefer to provide for not paying an alternate payee before the participant becomes entitled to receive a distribution or reaches age 50. (I’m not advocating this choice; rather, I’m curious about whether it’s even practically available.) Does an IRS-preapproved document afford a user an adoption-agreement or other choice for not providing a QDRO distribution until the participant’s earliest retirement age? Does the document your firm uses afford a choice on this plan-design point?
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