In a divorce that includes a retirement plan, a domestic relations order (DRO) is issued by the state court to assign benefits from the employer to another person (usually the employee’s spouse, known as the alternate payee). The retirement plan that administers these benefits must receive this order. Certain federal requirements must be met and it is up to the plan to determine if the order meets them. If the order meets the requirements, it then becomes a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). In the event that the order gets denied, the state court may modify the order to appease the plan’s objections. An appeal to a federal or state court may be made regarding the plan’s decision to qualify the DRO. The case below discusses an issue regarding a QDRO and if a wife is entitled to the benefits of their deceased ex-spouse. Continue reading →
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 →
Divorce rates among couples age 50 and over are on the rise. These so-called “gray divorces” may be a result of many societal factors, including longer life expectancy, increased social mobility and earning potential, and changes in the stigma regarding divorce. Couples often stay in an unhappy marriage for their kids, but once the kids are grown and self-sufficient divorce becomes an option, especially if the aforementioned factors are at play. These gray divorces have implications that may not be present in other divorces. Continue reading →
In Williams v. McDonald, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion, reviewed Plaintiff’s appeal from the trial court’s order granting Defendant’s 12(b)(b) motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint. Continue reading →
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.
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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 →
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 →