Your ex-spouse may be entitled to a portion of your retirement benefit. Learn more about QDRO on this page, including answers to frequently asked questions about the impact a divorce may have on your retirement benefit.
An active or retired member of ERSRI may have their retirement benefits considered a marital asset in a divorce proceeding, and the ex-spouse of the member may be entitled to a portion of their retirement benefit. Pension benefits are payable to another person following a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) being issued.
Upon review and qualification by ERSRI, we will follow the instructions outlined in a domestic relations order (DRO) regarding how to pay benefits awarded by the court to your ex-spouse. You should consult with your divorce attorney on how your benefit will be handled.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)
A Domestic Relations Order (DRO) is a court order or judgment that sets forth how a member’s retirement benefit is to be divided upon retirement. The Order must be a judgment, decree, or court order relating to the provision of marital property rights awarded to a spouse. (See RIGL §15-5-16.1)
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is an order that assigns an Alternate Payee a portion of the pension benefits payable to a Participant of a retirement plan.
It is extremely important that all parties comply with the requirements below in order to avoid delays in processing a retirement benefit to a Participant and/or the Alternate Payee. This information is strictly limited to the Defined Benefit portion of your pension.
Once a member is divorced, a copy of the Final Judgment of Divorce and Property or Marital Settlement Agreement should be sent to ERSRI for placement in the member’s file. The Alternate Payee or a lawyer can request the Participant’s pension information and it will be disclosed once ERSRI receives a release signed by the Participant or a Subpoena, or the information will be provided to the Participant. To obtain this information, please contact our Internal Legal Counsel at (401) 462-7616. Once a QDRO has been drafted, it must be sent to ERSRI for review. Please note that a Participant who is planning to retire will not be able to begin collecting a pension benefit until a QDRO is reviewed and approved by ERSRI.
After the QDRO has been reviewed and approved by ERSRI, confirming correspondence will be sent to the lawyer who originally submitted it. The QDRO must then be entered with the Court.
Once entered, a certified copy of the QDRO, along with a copy of the Final Judgment of Divorce and Property or Marital Settlement Agreement if it was not previously submitted, must be returned to ERSRI for placement in the Participant’s file to be implemented at the time of the Participant’s retirement, death, or other termination of service, or if the Participant is already retired, when the QDRO is received by ERSRI.
In addition, a new beneficiary nomination form must be completed by the Participant. The form must include the name of the former spouse as well as one or more beneficiaries and be consistent with the order. The beneficiary nomination forms are available on the ERSRI Forms page.