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I divorced 20+ years ago and we had a QDRO filed for my no ex-husbands retirement.  He cannot retire until he is 62.  However with my job, I am eligible to retire at 55.  In our original QDRO, it states that I can only receive funds if my EX, retires, dies, or quits his job.  What I want to know is:  Can I request that the QDRO be amended, so that I can roll it over into my own CALPERS retirement?  It has now sat in an account for 20 years and continues to sit there drawing NO INTEREST at all.  Please let me know if anyone has challenged this issue and won, how did you do it?  Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.

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1.  Can a QDRO be changed?  Yes, but it's your responsibility (and cost) to get it done, through the court.  Your ex-husband will (probably) get a voice in this.  Talk to your attorney.

2.  Is this a defined benefit plan?  If so, saying "drawing no interest" is irrelevant because there is no individual account.  If it's a defined contribution plan, then his account has (probably) been split into 2 accounts, so your portion is invested in some manner so that it can grow over time.  If you don't know, ask.

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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If the plan is a defined benefit plan it will probably not allow a domestic relations order to provide for distribution before the plan's earliest retirement age.  However, you got a QDRO that allows a distribution at participant's termination of employment, so the plan might allow other distributions outside of what is required by statute.

With respect to your CALPERS question, it is unlikely that you can use your QDRO benefit to enhance your CALPERS benefit if the benefit is a defined benefit.  If you can get a lump sum distribution under the QDRO, it is possible that CALPERS might allow purchase of service credit with rolled over funds.

In all likelihood you are just going to have to wait for your benefit under the QDRO.  You should check to be sure you are awarded an appropriate portion of the death benefit to make sure the Grim Reaper (or an incompetent lawyer) does not deprive you of a benefit if your former spouse dies before you start benefits.

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