Getting Started (CQS Manual)

1. Register with

Individuals who have reviewed the CQS program overview and are interested in becoming a Certified QDRO Specialist should begin the process by registering with  To do so, please navigate to the AACQP home page and select “Sign Up” under the “Sign In” table.  Complete your registration by inserting all required information and submitting the information for processing.  An activation email will be sent to the email address provided.  Please be sure to active your account by clicking the Activation link, before proceeding.  Individuals who have registered now have access to the testing center and sample exams.


2. Purchase Course Materials

A registered candidate may now begin their certification process by purchasing the first module (CQS Module I).  To purchase a module, navigate to the AACQP home page and select the “Purchase Course Materials” tab > Select to “View” Certified QDRO Specialist > and select Module I: CQS-1. Here you may select to purchase Module I and open their first Exam in the testing Portal.  Once purchased, your study material (and CQS Binder if purchasing CQS Module I) will be forwarded to the address provided the following business day.  It is suggested that you do not attempt to take the practice exam until you have received your CQS Module I in the mail.


3. Review the CQS Candidate Manual

The CQS Candidate Manual provides detailed information and instruction concerning the Certified QDRO Specialist program. It is suggested a candidate review the manual in its entireity to ensure they understand the process and requirements before proceeding with their study. Candidates who purchase Module I will also be provided with the CQS Candidate Manual within their CQS Program Binder.  The Candidate Manual may also be downloaded digitally by clicking the following link:

CQS Candidate Manual

Please note that the digital copy of the handbook does not include the appendices listed in the Table of Contents and are only provided to those who purchase CQS Module I.


4. Take Your First Exam

Once a candidate feels confident that they have spent the necessary amount of time (approximately 20 hours) reviewing the module’s study material and utilizing the quizzes at the end of each chapter, they may navigate to the testing portal and begin their practice exam.  To begin your Module I Exam, sign in to the AACQP Testing Portal > select the “Exams” Category > select “Take Exam” for Module 1: CQS-1 > and when ready, check the prompt ensuring that your computer is in proper working condition and click “Start Exam.” A candidate may attempt to take the Module Exams as many times as needed to achieve their preferred score.  It is suggested that a candidate achieve at least a score of 75% before moving on to their next Module.


5. CQS Certification Exam

It is suggested that a candidate complete all four (4) CQS Modules, targeting a 75% or higher, prior to purchasing and taking the CQS Certification Exam.  To take the CQS Certification Exam, please begin by navigating the AACQP Testing Portal by first signing in > click the “Exams” category > locate CQS Certification Exam and click “Take Exam” > once purchased you may check the prompt ensuring that your computer is in proper working condition and you have reviewed the exam instructions> when ready, click start exam to begin taking the exam.  Candidates are allowed two attempts at 100 randomly generated questions in 90 minutes.  The exam is designed to ensure that candidates are unable to use their study material while taking the exam.  More detailed information may be found in section 2.3 of the CQS Candidate Manual, as well as, the start exam page.