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Posthumous Nunc Pro Tunc Pension Awards via QDRO in Divorce

Q. Valerie, B. of Arlington Heights, IL. asks: "Am I Eligible for the Pension from my (deceased) ex-husband's Pension through our Divorce?"

A. Brett, from Pension Evaluators® at Troyan Inc.® answers: "The Benefit is typically lost. An ex-spouse who files a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) with a Plan Administrator following the death of her ex-husband is not entitled to benefits. However, Troyan, Inc., has been successful in working with several Plan Administrators in obtaining the benefit award pursuant to the Divorce Decree when Orders were previously established with the Plan but not Qualified.

In Marker v. Northrop - Grumman Space & Missions Systems Corporation Salaried Pension Plan, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois found that an order dividing a pension that was issued as part of a court-ordered divorce settlement made while the Participant was alive must be accepted by the Plan even if the Plan did not receive the order until after the Participant's death.

In this case, the Participant and his wife divorced and the court divided his pension as part of the property settlement. However, before the ex-wife had the opportunity to file the court order with the plan, her ex-husband died. When she tried to file the order, the Plan rejected the order on the grounds that the pension benefit died with the Participant.

Although this case only applies to divorced spouses in Northern Illinois, it is likely to be referred to by courts in other parts of the country. This case is significant because it provides protection for divorced spouses whose ex-spouse dies before making a benefit payout election upon retirement."

Brett Disdale

Lead QDRO Consultant

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.