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I have a scenario that I need help with.  My parents divorced back in 1996 and as a part of the Divorce Decree there was a Consent Order stating that my father in these exact terms quoted: "shall pay the legal fees for and cause to be drafted as part of the decree a QDRO directing the Federal Office of Personnel Management to pay to the wife, son the husbands retirement, one half of the marital portion of the Husbands net annuity and, further, in the event of the Husband's death, to pay to the Wife a survivor's annuity based on the marital portion of the Husband's annuity."  It then goes on to give a formula for how the "marital portion" is to be calculated.

In 2003 my mother died unexpectedly and I settled her estate.  I never knew that there was a divorce decree until last month when I had to search for the file because my father tried to claim her retirement benefits from her previous employer and I had to send it in to show that they were divorced and at that time after receiving the divorce decree info I ended up also finding out  that he also waived any right he had to her retirement benefits in the same divorce decree.  After seeing this divorce decree and the Consent Order within it I have a few questions that I am hoping that someone here can give me some direction on:

1)  How can I find out if a QDRO was ever completed?

2)  Under these circumstances, would I, as my mothers only child and heir, inherit the benefits from the QDRO?

3)  Based on the Wording in the Decree it was my fathers responsibility to get the QDRO completed and paid for.  If he never did can it still be required of him to be done post my mothers death by her estate and how would I go about doing this?

Other possible pertinent information:

My father is a federal government employee

He has not retired yet but may be doing so within the next few months

The divorce and everything pertaining to it was done in Washington DC

My mother died in North Carolina and my father is a Maryland Resident.

If you have any additional questions that could be helpful to giving some direction please let me know.

Any Direction that can be given here would be of great help.  Thank you in advance.

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Too much we don't know, but it's quite possible that even if a QDRO had been drafted the amount awarded to your Mother would have reverted back to your Father anyway given that she predeceased him and his retirement.  This is very off the cuff and if you want certainty you need to hire a lawyer, preferably an employee benefits lawyer familiar with your Father's pension plan.   

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23 minutes ago, K2retire said:

The Federal government retirement plans ... do not follow the same rules as private plan QDROs.

Are you sure about this?  I agree they are not subject to the IRC requirement, but it was my understanding that they have adopted the QDRO procedures, although they use the term "court order" rather than "QDRO". (I might be misinformed, just asking.)

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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The Consent Order say specifically in the "Pensions" section:  "The parties agree that the Husband has a vested federal civil service retirement benefit..........".  I'm not sure if that tells which benefit they are referring to.  I hope that one of you might have some guidance here as I'm not able to get anywhere with the Law Firms I have called.

I have tried to call about 25 different attorney's who are "Employee Benefit" attorneys and ALL of them say that they don't do this type of work for what I'm asking.  they say that they work specifically with large companies and pension plans directly.  One guy was nice enough to refer me to The Pension Rights Center.  I left someone a message there who said that the person who normally would try to help with my type of question will be out of the office for a couple of weeks and she will give him my number when he comes back.

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You need a domestic relations/divorce attorney, but make sure you get one with intimate knowledge of QDROs.  Better yet, get one with experience dealing with the federal pension system(s).

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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21 hours ago, david rigby said:

Are you sure about this?  I agree they are not subject to the IRC requirement, but it was my understanding that they have adopted the QDRO procedures, although they use the term "court order" rather than "QDRO". (I might be misinformed, just asking.)

It's been a few years since I looked at those rules. They could have changed.

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'm not sure if you all have seen this book that I found that I've attached and I'm not sure if they have put out a more updated one since, but I'm trying to read through it for some guidance since I found it last night an I think it may answer some of the questions that you all are asking each other about the QDRO rules.  It seems to be saying that a QDRO is not acceptable for filing with them, but I might be misinterpreting that.  Hopefully this may be helpful to you all and maybe you can help me to answer my questions with it.  There seem to be parts that say that I would inherit and then other parts that say I would not, but I'm not sure what the differences are.

OPM Pension Handbook Info.pdf

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