Articles Posted in QDRO

Published on:

13062458_1042739802458603_2436945721037467362_n

By: Dana M. Horlick, Attorney, Woodruff Family Law Group

 

VanderKam v. VanderKam, 776 F.3d 883 (D.C. Cir. 2015)

(a) Facts: Before the parties were divorced, the wife was the death beneficiary of the husband’s retirement plan. The parties were divorced in Texas. Their divorce decree was silent on survivor benefits, but awarded the husband all rights existing because of his employment.

After divorce, the husband sought to name his second wife as survivor beneficiary. The first wife objected, and asked a Texas state court to hold that she was the proper beneficiary. The state court held that the first wife had waived her rights, and that the husband was free to name the second wife.

The plan encountered financial difficulty, and was taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). PBGC determined that the death beneficiary could not be changed after the first payment of retirement benefits to the employee and the order could not be qualified as a QDRO.

The husband asked a federal district court to overturn PBGC’s determination. The district court held that PBGC’s ruling was correct and that any rights the husband might have under Texas state law were preempted by ERISA.

(b) Issue: Did ERISA preempt the husband’s rights under Texas state law?

(c) Answer to Issue: Yes.

Continue reading →

Published on:

13062458_1042739802458603_2436945721037467362_n

By: Dana M. Horlick, Attorney, Woodruff Family Law Group

 

Yale-New Haven v. Nicholls, 788 F.3d 79 (2d Cir. 2015)

(a) Facts: A husband and wife were divorced in Connecticut in 2008. The divorce decree incorporated a settlement agreement, which provided that the husband would transfer to the wife half of the marital share of his retirement benefits. No QDRO was entered to enforce this language, and the husband did not make the required transfer to the wife.

The husband remarried, and then died, leaving his second wife as survivor beneficiary of all his pension plans. After the husband’s death, the Connecticut state court issued a series of orders nunc pro tunc, purporting to be QDROs, requiring payment of the promised benefits to the first wife.Both wives asserted competing claims to the benefits, and the plan filed an interpleader action. The District Court held that the first wife was entitled to half of the marital share of the benefits, finding that the divorce decree met the requirements for a valid QDRO.

(b) Issue: Is the first wife entitled to half of the marital share of the husband’s retirement benefits?

(c) Answer to Issue: Yes.

(d) Summary of Rationale: To constitute a QDRO, a state order must provide a mailing address for the alternate payee and state the name of each plan at issue. The district court erred in treating the divorce decree as a QDRO.

Continue reading →

Published on:

I.R.C. § 414(p) and 29 U.S.C. § 1056

Morris v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 751 F. Supp. 2d 955 (E.D. Mich. 2010)

(a) Facts: When the husband and the wife were divorced, the state court divorce decree extinguished all rights held by one in any life insurance of the other.  But the husband retained the wife as beneficiary of his employer-provided life insurance.  Upon his death, the plan paid the proceeds to the first wife, and the husband’s second wife sued to recovery the proceeds.

(b) Issue: Who is entitled to the proceeds?

Continue reading →