Serving both Kentucky and Ohio, The Law Office of J. Eileen Zell, PLLC, is a solo practitioner law firm focused on the proper apportionment of retirement assets in domestic relations cases. Retirement assets are generally assigned and divided via a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), or other similar court order. QDROs allocate marital property rights in divorce, provide for spousal support, and can be used for the recovery of child support. Ms. Zell is devoted to aiding family law practitioners with achieving their clients’ goals while safeguarding their clients' retirement benefits and reducing liability.

EZ QDRO LAW - Local, Personal & Knowledgeable

Located in the East Row Historic District in Newport, Kentucky, Eileen Zell has developed a unique practice assisting family law attorneys with the drafting of QDROs, as well as providing consultation and support on a variety of QDRO-related matters including settlement negotiations, mediation, and litigation. Eileen has been qualified as an expert witness by state courts in both Ohio and Kentucky. As a member of both The Academy of Northern Kentucky Collaborative Professionals and the Cincinnati Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Eileen also serves as a third-party "QDRO-neutral" in Collaborative Divorce cases.

J. Eileen Zell, Esq.

J. Eileen Zell, Esq.

Eileen is an avid researcher and recognized writer in the field. She recently authored a treatise to be published as part of the Bloomberg Tax (formerly Bloomberg BNA) nationally acclaimed Tax Management Portfolios  (379-1st T.M., QDROs and Similar Assignments of Income/Retirement Assets (working title)). Eileen regularly writes and presents topical educational seminars at the request of local and state bar associations, judges, and other professional associations. As a pet-project, Eileen also maintains the EZ QDRO Law Blog, which is designed to serve as a reference for Kentucky and Ohio domestic relations attorneys. Eileen's posts cover current QDRO-related events, best practices, recent case law developments and legislative updates in both jurisdictions. Feedback is welcome and comments are encouraged.

A QDRO is Not a Neutral Document

A retirement plan's model QDRO form is designed to reduce the plan's administrative burden and costs.  It is not designed with your client's best interests, the decree, or your state’s domestic relations laws in mind.  A QDRO must instead be individually tailored and drafted to accurately and equitably reflect the parties' property settlement agreement and/or findings of the court. Doing so requires an understanding of: 

  • The specific terms and nuances of each retirement plan, as well as the plan’s internal QDRO procedures and rules;

  • The federal and state laws governing the plan; and

  • The particular state's domestic relations law as it relates to the classification and division of marital property rights and child support matters.

Your clients are best served when these complexities are addressed by an attorney who has experience with these issues.

"QDRO" Doesn't Have to be a Four Letter Word

It is no secret that the liability exposure associated with QDROs has increased greatly over the last decade. For this reason, QDROs can be the bane of a domestic relations attorney's existence; it doesn't have to be that way. Eileen's services are designed to prevent the potential pitfalls and delays related to complex plan documents and changing laws.