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 →
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 →
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.
The husband died. At the time of his death, the wife was still named as the survivor beneficiary of his retirement plan under a predivorce designation. The husband’s estate assigned its claim to the husband’s father. The plan paid the survivor benefits to the wife, and the father sued the wife to recover the amount paid.
(b) Issue: Who is entitled to the husband’s survivor benefits?
(c) Answer to Issue: His father. Continue reading →
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.
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.
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 →
Sun Life Assur. Co. of Canada v. Jackson, 877 F.3d 698 (6th Cir. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 2624 (2018)
(a) Facts: The parties were divorced in 2006. The divorce decree, which incorporated a separation agreement, ordered the husband to maintain any employer-provided life insurance policies for the benefit of the parties’ daughter until her emancipation.
In re Beeghley, ___ Fed. App’x ___, 2018 WL 3060089 (3d Cir. 2018) (unpublished)
(a) Facts: The parties were divorced in Delaware in 1995. The trial court divided the husband’s pension and ordered the wife to prepare a DRO. No DRO was ever signed.
Stephens v. Alliant Techsystems Corp., 714 F. App’x 841 (10th Cir. 2017) (unpublished)
(a) Facts: A husband divorced in Utah. A Utah state court entered at least two DROs dividing retirement benefits, each time reserving jurisdiction to amend the order in the future. The plan qualified the DROs.
Facts: A husband and wife filed divorce proceedings in Ohio. Among the marital assets was the husband’s defined contribution retirement plan. The parties read into the record in the Ohio action an agreement that awarded the wife 50% of the plan account. The court approved the agreement. No DRO was immediately entered. Continue reading →