Blog

Contact Us for More Information

Retroactive QDROs

Posted by Corey F. Schechter | Nov 16, 2016 | 0 Comments

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, recently recognized a retroactive QDRO. The case involved the 1993 divorce of Henry Patterson and Ardella Patterson. The divorce decree awarded Ardella half of her former husband's pension benefits, which he began receiving in April of 1994 until his death in November of 2007. Ardella submitted her divorce judgment to the plan administrator in December of 1994 but was told that the judgment alone would not qualify as a domestic relations order. Ardella resubmitted her divorce judgment in 2008, and she was again denied her claim for benefits because the divorce judgment alone did not qualify as a domestic relations order. Henry Patterson had no remaining benefits to be assigned to her. The plan concluded that because Henry had elected a single life annuity and then died, no remaining benefits were available to be paid to Ardella. After a third unsuccessful submission in 2012, Ardella filed a Qualified Domestic Relations Order Nunc Pro Tunc, which is an order that is applied retroactively. The district court found in favor of Ardella and decided that it would accept the order as having been entered in 1993 so that at the time it was entered there was a benefit capable of being split. The court reasoned that had the order had been implemented in 1993, it would not have provided for increased benefits. Therefore, the plan was required to pay a survivor benefit to Ardella, even though Henry had elected (and been paid) a life annuity that was larger in amount than the benefits that would have been paid to him if he had elected a survivor annuity for Ardella's benefit.

The Case is Patterson v. Chrysler Group, LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18862 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 17, 2016), and emphasizes that it is never too late to obtain a QDRO to receive pension benefits awarded pursuant to a divorce decree.

If you are currently going through the process of a divorce or legal separation, or are thinking about filing for divorce or legal separation, and either you or your spouse is a participant in a retirement plan, contact one of our highly qualified attorneys for a free consultation regarding either the preparation of your QDRO or the review of a QDRO previously prepared.

About the Author

Corey F. Schechter

Corey Schechter practices in the areas of Employee Benefits, Employee Stock Ownership Plans, Pension and Profit Sharing Plans, ERISA, ERISA Litigation, Business Law, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), and Employment and Labor Law.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Retirement Plans

We help establish a customized plan that meets regulatory requirements as a tax qualified plan. Following implementation, our attorneys can assist clients and their plan administrator with regular reviews and updates to help with regulatory compliance for the plan's operation, and continued effectiveness in meeting the client's specific goals.

ESOPs

We are dedicated to employee ownership. When you come to us for ESOP services, you receive influential legal counsel who stand beside you to help you stay informed, in compliance, and abreast of the latest developments-all to help you realize your plan goals as fully and effectively as possible.

QDROs

A QDRO is a specially designed court order that is required for the division of retirement benefits in a family law case. Many family law attorneys do not possess the expertise necessary to divide retirement benefits or stock options upon divorce. We have extensive experience in dividing qualified plans, government plans, IRAs and stock options between the employee spouse and non-employee spouse.

Butterfield Schechter LLP provides the information in this website as a service to its clients and visitors to the site. This website is for information purposes only and is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The information in this website is provided "as is," and while the information in this website is updated periodically, additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein, and no guarantee is given that the information provided is correct, complete, or up-to-date. Seek the advice of professional counsel before acting or relying upon any article, form, or information in this web site. To ensure compliance with the requirements imposed by the United States Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any federal tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of: (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another person any transaction or matter addressed herein. Butterfield Schechter LLP has endeavored to comply with all known legal and ethical requirements in compiling this website. In the event that this communication does not conform with any laws or regulations of any state or country in which it may be received, Butterfield Schechter LLP will not accept legal representation based on this communication from a person in such a state or country. Electronic mail is provided as a convenience in communicating with the attorneys at Butterfield Schechter LLP. Contact by e-mail does not alone create an attorney-client relationship. Please remember Internet e-mail is not secure and messages sent to the firm or any of its employees or attorneys should not contain sensitive or confidential information. Thank you for visiting our site.

Menu