Articles Posted in QDRO

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By: Carolyn J. Woodruff, JD, CPA, CVA

Patterson v. Chrysler Group Addendum

Shortly after the Sixth Circuit decided Patterson v. Chrylser Group, 845 F.3d 756 (2017), I first wrote about this case. Based on some recent comments, updating the blog with dates for clarification is necessary. The issue is when the statute of limitations starts on the qualification of a domestic relations order. It is proper to note that this dispute is between the Plan and the Alternate Payee or the Transferee Spouse.  The Plan Participant (ex-Husband)  is not a party and does not have standing. It is the Transferee Spouse’s vested benefit under consideration. Ex-Husband no longer has an interest. The Plan is the legal owner as Trustee of the retirement benefits. Continue reading →

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Ostanek v. Ostanek, Slip Opinion No. 2021-Ohio-2319

Issues with division of retirement accounts are seemingly springing up all over the place. At heart in most of these cases is a domestic relations order. Those are the orders of court that instruct an entity to, in short, divide the retirement funds. And since many people that have these retirement divisions are finally reaching retirement age, they are findings issues with the orders. Below is an example of an issue in the Ohio courts. Continue reading →

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Schorse v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo. 2018176, 2018 WL 5270556 (2018)

(a) Facts: Husband was a computer programmer and wife was a physician. During the marriage, the wife earned 80% to 90% of the parties’ income.
Continue reading →

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Does the entry of a court-ordered equitable distribution create an interest to a retirement asset? Do you even need to file a DRO or QDRO when an equitable distribution consent order is signed by a judge? See how the North Carolina Court of Appeals saves the award of the marital portion of a retirement account that had not been disbursed before the intestate death of the former husband. Continue reading →

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Hoak v. Plan Adm’r of Plans of NCR Corp., 389 F. Supp. 3d 1234 (N.D. Ga. 2019)

(a) Facts: Two wives were divorced from their husbands. Both husbands were members of a senior executive retirement plan. The plan provided that survivor benefits would be paid to the “eligible spouse” of each plan participant. “Eligible spouse” was defined as “the spouse to whom the Participant is married on the date the Participant’s benefit payments under the Plan commence.” 389 F. Supp. 2d at 1278. Continue reading →

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Culwick v. Wood, 384 F. Supp. 3d 328 (E.D.N.Y. 2019)

(a) Facts: Husband and wife were divorced. Their divorce decree incorporated a separation agreement. The agreement provided:

[T]he Husband shall otherwise retain all pensions and annuities acquired by him at any time, including during the term of the marriage. . . . The Wife waives any claims she might have in and to these benefits including the right to be named as a survivor beneficiary.

384 F. Supp. 3d at 335. The agreement further provided that “nothing herein contained shall require either party to renounce or disclaim any gift, devise or bequest which he or she may be given by the other’s Will, Trust, or other document.” Id. Continue reading →

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Miletello v. RMR Mech., Inc., 921 F.3d 493 (5th Cir. 2019)

(a) Facts: Husband and wife were engaged in divorce proceedings. A settlement agreement awarded to the wife $500,000 of the funds in the husband’s 401(k) plan.

Before the husband complied with the order, he died. Two days later, the state court incorporated the settlement into a court order. Fifteen months later, the state court entered a QDRO ordering the plan to pay the ex-wife the $500,000.

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Christopoulos v. Trout, 343 F. Supp. 3d 812 (N.D. Ill. 2018)

(a) Facts: Husband filed a divorce action against wife in Illinois. Immediately thereafter, he changed the beneficiary of his employer-provided group life insurance, naming a series of relatives in varying percentages.

The wife immediately asked the divorce judge to order the husband to name the children as beneficiaries. The trial court properly entered a handwritten order granting the relief requested.

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Garcia Tatupu v. Bert Bell/Peter Rozelle NFL Player Ret. Plan, 296 F. Supp. 3d 407 (D. Mass. 2017), aff’d, 747 F. App’x 873 (1st Cir. 2019)

(a) Facts: The husband, a former NFL football player, was divorced from his wife in Massachusetts in 1997. The decree incorporated a separation agreement, which provided: Continue reading →