As defined by the State of Michigan, a Domestic Relations Order (DRO) is filed by the spouses.
Typically, the spouse’s file with a retirement system provides for the division of a pension as a marital asset and/or the removal of a survivor option from a pension that is already in pay status. ORS provides two different DROs for your use: Domestic Relations Order (R323X) is to be used for dividing a pension and may include voiding a survivor option.
Generally, a DRO is different from an Eligible Domestic Relations Order (EDRO) which applies only to orders filed with the retirement system before the retirement effective date of the individual. It is only when a retirement system member divorces and the parties agree that the pension will be divided that an Eligible Domestic Relations Order (EDRO) must be filed with the retirement system.
What are the Domestic Relations Order Options?
The Domestic Relations Order options are the following:
- You may assign a percentage or a specific dollar amount of the retirant’s pension to the former spouse. Any payments to the former spouse will be effective the first day of the month following ORS’ receipt of an acceptable DRO. Retroactive pension adjustments will not be made.
- If at the time of retirement, the retiree elected to receive their retirement allowance in the form of a survivor option and designated the former spouse as a beneficiary, the DRO may void the survivor option elected (50%, 75%, or 100%). If the survivor option is voided, the retirant’s retirement allowance will revert to the straight life option.
Note: Although the retiree may be entitled to receive the retirement allowance in the form of a straight life benefit, a portion of that straight life benefit may still be assigned to the former spouse under the DRO.
There is more to discuss the DROs. If you need urgent help with it, our Southfield family lawyer is here to help.
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