Orders Dividing Pension Plans
Orders Dividing Pension Plans are court orders that allocated funds in a pension plan to each spouse. Whereas a pension plan contains funds that is paid into by an employee and/or an employer for the purpose of saving for retirement, the court order will divide any funds that are deemed to be community property.
Orders Dividing Pension Plans applies to Employee benefit plans, Defined Benefit Plans, Defined Contributions Plans, 401(k)s, and other cash deferred plans, as well as state and federal public retirement plans, such as CalPERS, LACERA, LACERS, CA State Teachers’ Retirement System, Federal Employees’ Retirement System, military pensions, 457 plans, 403b plans, and 401a plans.
This is the spouse who is making payments into the pension/retirement plan. Remember that even though one spouse may be paying into the pension /retirement plan, both spouses may have a right to the money in the plan, depending on when the payments were made.
Under California law, all assets and debt acquired from the date of marriage to the date of separation is community property. The only exceptions are gifts, inheritances, or items that can be traced to a separate source. In general, all community property will be divided equally between the parties.
All assets or debts obtained before the date of marriage, after the date of separation, as a gift, or by inheritance.
Combined Community and Separate Property Interest
Orders Dividing Pensions plans must often divide the community interest and establish either one or both spouse’s separate interest. A pension/retirement may have both community and separate property contributions because a spouse may have paid into the plan before the date of marriage, during the marriage, and after the date of separation.
Orders Dividing Pensions Plans
Orders Dividing Pensions plans are done via a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or Domestic Relations Order (DRO). A QDRO is used for a private retirement plan while a DRO is used for state and federal retirement plans .
Joinder for Orders Dividing Pensions Plans
A joinder is an action that adds a third party to the case. The plan administrator who manages the retirement/pension plan must be added as a party to your divorce or legal separation case before orders can be made about that plan.
The following form is used by all California courts to grant Orders Dividing Pensions Plans:
File Download (PDF File): fl348 – pension benefit order
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