Are Spouses Entitled to their Deceased Ex-Spouse’s Benefits?
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 →