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Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs): Dos, Don'ts, and Pitfalls

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 90 minutes
Recorded Date: May 16, 2019
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  • Key Terms
  • Defined Contribution Plans v. Defined Benefit Plans
  • Settlement Agreement Language
  • Common QDRO Provisions
  • Pitfalls to Avoid
  • Government Plans
Runtime: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Recorded: May 16, 2019


The presenters, authors of The Complete QDRO Handbook, Fourth Edition , will explain the difference between defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans; go over how to use common QDRO provisions; and identify the pitfalls to avoid in preparing QDROs for both plans. They will also briefly cover the unique aspects and requirements for government-sponsored plans, including Thrift Savings Plans, FERS pensions, and military pensions.

This program was recorded on May 16th, 2019.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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James R. Lewis, IV

Shewmaker & Shewmaker, LLC

James “Jimmy” Lewis was born and raised in Atlanta Georgia. He attended Auburn University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science focusing on Pre-Law and Conflict Resolution. Jimmy received his law degree from John Marshall Law School in 2014, where he began to learn litigation skills under two Cobb County District Attorneys.

Jimmy joined Shewmaker & Shewmaker in February 2015 and practices in all areas of family law including divorce litigation, modification of custody, alimony and child support, contempt actions, and military-related family law issues.

He is a member of the State of Georgia Bar Association, Georgia Family Law Section, Georgia Young Lawyers Division, DeKalb County Bar Association, and the Family Law section of the DeKalb Bar.

Jimmy is a member in good standing with the State Bar of Georgia.

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Patricia D. Shewmaker

Shewmaker & Shewmaker, LLC

Patty Shewmaker, a native of Nebraska, attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York where she earned a bachelor of science in political science and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in Military Intelligence. Patty served seven (7) years on active duty in the United States Army and three (3) years in the Georgia Army National Guard. Patty deployed as a Company Commander of a Counterintelligence Company in support of OPERATIONS IRAQI FREEDOM and OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. Patty received the Bronze Star Medal for her service in a combat theater of operations. With her extensive military background and understanding the unique issues that confront military families, Patty represents many military service members in family law issues.

Patty earned her law degree from the Georgia State University College of Law where she graduated with honors. She has an active practice in all areas of family law including divorce litigation, modification of custody, alimony and child support, contempt actions and legitimations and paternity suits.

Patty also specializes in dividing qualified retirement plans incident to divorce and legal separation, including pensions under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), military pensions, private pensions, 401(k)s, Thrift Savings Plans (TSPs), and other qualified retirement plans.

Patty also has extensive experience with cross jurisdictional family law litigation. She represents clients whose cases span across multiple states and foreign countries, be it a divorce, custody action, or a modification. Patty is well versed in the special jurisdictional requirements of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and the Uniform Family Support Act (UFSA).

Patty is a member in good standing with the State Bar of Georgia. Patty is also a member of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia, and she is a member of the executive committee of the Military and Veterans Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. She is also a member of the American Bar Association, the DeKalb Bar Association, and a member of the Class of 2012 of Leadership DeKalb.

Patty is admitted to practice with the State Bar of Georgia, the Georgia Court of Appeals, the Georgia Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

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