5 CFR § 1653.2 - Qualifying retirement benefits court orders.

§ 1653.2 Qualifying retirement benefits court orders.

(a) To be qualifying, and thus enforceable against the TSP, a retirement benefits court order must meet the following requirements:

(1) The order must expressly relate to the Thrift Savings Plan account of a TSP participant. This means that:

(i) The order must expressly refer to the “Thrift Savings Plan” or describe the TSP in such a way that it cannot be confused with other Federal Government retirement benefits or non-Federal retirement benefits;

(ii) The order must be written in terms appropriate to a defined contribution plan rather than a defined benefit plan. For example, it should generally refer to the participant's TSP account or TSP account balance rather than a benefit formula or the participant's eventual benefits; and

(iii) If the participant has a civilian TSP account and a uniformed services TSP account, the order must expressly identify the account to which it relates.

(2) The order must either require the TSP to freeze the participant's account to preserve the status quo pending final resolution of the parties' rights to the participant's TSP account, or to make a payment from the participant's account to a permissible payee.

(3) If the order requires a payment from the participant's account, the award must be for:

(i) A specific dollar amount;

(ii) A stated percentage of the account; or

(iii) A survivor annuity as provided in 5 U.S.C. 8435(d).

(iv) The following examples would qualify to require payment from the TSP, although ambiguous or conflicting language used elsewhere could cause the order to be rejected.

(A) Example 1. ORDERED: [payee's name, Social Security number (SSN), and address] is awarded $____ from the [civilian or uniformed services] Thrift Savings Plan account of [participant's name, account number or SSN, and address].

(B) Example 2. ORDERED: [payee's name, SSN, and address] is awarded ____ % of the [civilian and/or uniformed services] Thrift Savings Plan account[s] of [participant's name, account number or SSN, and address] as of [date].

Note 1 to paragraph (a)(3)(iv):

The following optional language can be used in conjunction with any of the above examples. FURTHER ORDERED: Earnings will be paid on the amount of the entitlement under this ORDER until payment is made.

(4) A court order can require a payment only to a spouse, former spouse, child or dependent of a participant.

(b) The following retirement benefits court orders are not qualifying and thus are not enforceable against the TSP:

(1) An order relating to a TSP account that has been closed;

(2) An order relating to a TSP account that contains only nonvested money;

(3) An order requiring the return to the TSP of money that was properly paid pursuant to an earlier court order;

(4) An order requiring the TSP to make a payment in the future, unless the present value of the payee's entitlement can be calculated, in which case the TSP will make the payment currently;

(5) An order that does not specify the account to which the order applies, if the participant has both a civilian TSP account and a uniformed services TSP account;

(6) An order that requires the TSP to calculate the payee's entitlement or earnings in a manner that is inconsistent with § 1653.4 of this part; and

(7) An order that designates the TSP core fund, source of contributions, or balance (e.g., traditional, Roth, or tax-exempt) from which the payment or portions of the payment shall be made.

[68 FR 35510, June 13, 2003, as amended at 69 FR 29851, May 26, 2004; 71 FR 54893, Sept. 20, 2006; 72 FR 51354, Sept. 7, 2007; 76 FR 78095, Dec. 16, 2011; 77 FR 26428, May 4, 2012; 87 FR 31688, May 24, 2022]
Editorial Note:
At 87 FR 31688, May 25, 2022, § 1653.2 was amended by revising paragraph (b)(1); however, the amendment could not be incorporated because no revised text for paragraph (b)(1) was provided.