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QDRO filed with Divorce

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We have a QDRO filed with our divorce. I am wondering when is that the ex is able to start collecting.. When we divorced I was at my 25 year mark at work. She gets approximately 7 years worth of my pension.

Now I am reaching my 30 years, when I am allowed to retire if i wish, but I am not.

Does the ex wife have to wait until I start collecting in order to collect from her portion or can she start when I would be eligible if I chose to at my 30 year mark?

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Depends on the terms of the plan and the terms of the QDRO. Might be questions that you should direct to the Employer/plan sponsor.

By the way, have you sent the DRO to the plan sponsor? Only the plan sponsor can review a DRO to determine if it is "qualified", which is when it becomes a QDRO.

I'm a retirement actuary. Nothing about my comments is intended or should be construed as investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Occasionally, but not all the time, it might be reasonable to interpret my comments as actuarial or consulting advice.

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As Rigby correctly points out this will be governed by the terms of the plan and the language of the (Q)DRO which can't grant additional payment rights to the alternate payee (your ex) that aren't allowed by the Plan.

For example -

Some plans may allow an alternate payee to receive their benefits immediately, even if the participant doesn't have that option. Though I think this is more common in defined contribution plans than defined benefit plans.

Others might allow the alternate payee to elect payments to begin at the participant's normal or earliest retirement age even if the participant continues employment and defers retirement.

But without reading the actual plan document and (Q)DRO we are just speculating here.

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Thank you. Yes it is a QDRO. I have received the letter from my pension plan asking for proof of age documentation since she has submitted the completed pension application to process the alternate payee application when she applies..

So is this a good indication that she can't claim her portion until I reach retirement age?

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  • 2 months later...

It would help is you would copy and paste the exact language of the QDRO. There are generally two methods of allocating defined benefit plans. The first is what is known as a "shared interest" allocation where the Alternate Payee receives a share of the Participant's benefit if, as and when the Participant receives it, plus there is normally a survivor annuity benefit payable after the death of the Participant.

The other method is the "separate interest" allocation where the Alternate Payee receives a share of the Participant's accrued benefits as of the date of the divorce and will have the option to begin receipt payments even if the Participant is not in payout status, but only if the Participant is over age 50 and eligible to retire.

Bottom line, nobody can give you a valid answer without seeing the QDRO.


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