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  1. A Plan Administrator of a 401kPSP received a phone call from a former participant who has a large balance ($100k) that he wants to take a distribution (which he is otherwise eligible to receive) so he doesn't lose his home, and, that he and his wife are splitting and she wants half of his Plan account. The Plan's QDRO Procedure states, "Procedure prior to receipt of order: The Plan will apply the following procedure prior to the Plan's receipt of a Domestic Relations Order. Suspension of Participant distributions or loans. If the Plan Administrator is on notice (verbal or written) regarding a pending domestic relations action (e.g., a divorce) and has a reasonable belief the Participant's account may become subject to a QDRO, the Plan Administrator may suspend processing the Participant's distribution or loan requests pending resolution. Removing hold on the account. After placing a hold on the account, the Plan Administrator should notify the Participant of the hold on the account. In order to remove the hold, the Plan Administrator should request the Participant to provide written confirmation that a court will not issue a QDRO with respect to the account, such as a property settement agreement awarding the entire account to the Participant." Questions: Is such a phone call sufficient to place the Plan Administrator "on notice" of a pending domestic relations action, such that a "hold" should be placed on the Participant's account, for which he is otherwise eligible to receive a distribution? Can the Plan process (at least) a partial distribution or a hardship distribution in amount necessary for the hardship (house) up to an amount equal to no more than 50% of the account, essentially only "holding" 50% of the account pending the purported domestic relations action? If a "hold" is appropriate at this time on the Participant'saccount (full or partial), for how long should it remain on "hold" before the Plan releases it for inaction by either party? What if the Participant does not ascertain a court order but he (and his wife if necessary?) does contact the Plan Administrator and say they were arguing and the phone call made today was without merit and should be ignored? Or would something more concrete be preferred such as a sworn affidavit? Could the Plan Administrator remove the "hold" on the account? Thank you.
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