domestic relations order

(3) (A) Paragraph (1) shall apply to the creation, assignment, or recognition of a right to any benefit payable with respect to a participant pursuant to a domestic relations order, except that paragraph (1) shall not apply if the order is determined to be a qualified domestic relations order. Each pension plan shall provide for the payment of benefits in accordance with the applicable requirements of any qualified domestic relations order. (B) For purposes of this paragraph— (i) the term “qualified domestic relations order” means a domestic relations order— (I) which creates or recognizes the existence of an alternate payee’s right to, or assigns to an alternate payee the right to, receive all or a portion of the benefits payable with respect to a participant under a plan, and (II) with respect to which the requirements of subparagraphs (C) and (D) are met, and (ii) the term “domestic relations order” means any judgment, decree, or order (including approval of a property settlement agreement) which— (I) relates to the provision of child support, alimony payments, or marital property rights to a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of a participant, and (II) is made pursuant to a State domestic relations law (including a community property law). (C) A domestic relations order meets the requirements of this subparagraph only if such order clearly specifies— (i) the name and the last known mailing address (if any) of the participant and the name and mailing address of each alternate payee covered by the order, (ii) the amount or percentage of the participant’s benefits to be paid by the plan to each such alternate payee, or the manner in which such amount or percentage is to be determined, (iii) the number of payments or period to which such order applies, and (iv) each plan to which such order applies. (D) A domestic relations order meets the requirements of this subparagraph only if such order— (i) does not require a plan to provide any type or form of benefit, or any option, not otherwise provided under the plan, (ii) does not require the plan to provide increased benefits (determined on the basis of actuarial value), and (iii) does not require the payment of benefits to an alternate payee which are required to be paid to another alternate payee under another order previously determined to be a qualified domestic relations order. (E) (i) A domestic relations order shall not be treated as failing to meet the requirements of clause (i) of subparagraph (D) solely because such order requires that payment of benefits be made to an alternate payee— (I) in the case of any payment before a participant has separated from service, on or after the date on which the participant attains (or would have attained) the earliest retirement age, (II) as if the participant had retired on the date on which such payment is to begin under such order (but taking into account only the present value of benefits actually accrued and not taking into account the present value of any employer subsidy for early retirement), and (III) in any form in which such benefits may be paid under the plan to the participant (other than in the form of a joint and survivor annuity with respect to the alternate payee and his or her subsequent spouse). For purposes of subclause (II), the interest rate assumption used in determining the present value shall be the interest rate specified in the plan or, if no rate is specified, 5 percent. (ii) For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “earliest retirement age” means the earlier of— (I) the date on which the participant is entitled to a distribution under the plan, or (II) the later of the date of the participant attains age 50 or the earliest date on which the participant could begin receiving benefits under the plan if the participant separated from service. (F) To the extent provided in any qualified domestic relations order— (i) the former spouse of a participant shall be treated as a surviving spouse of such participant for purposes of section 1055 of this title (and any spouse of the participant shall not be treated as a spouse of the participant for such purposes), and (ii) if married for at least 1 year, the surviving former spouse shall be treated as meeting the requirements of section 1055(f) of this title . (G) (i) In the case of any domestic relations order received by a plan— (I) the plan administrator shall promptly notify the participant and each alternate payee of the receipt of such order and the plan’s procedures for determining the qualified status of domestic relations orders, and (II) within a reasonable period after receipt of such order, the plan administrator shall determine whether such order is a qualified domestic relations order and notify the participant and each alternate payee of such determination. (ii) Each plan shall establish reasonable procedures to determine the qualified status of domestic relations orders and to administer distributions under such qualified orders. Such procedures— (I) shall be in writing, (II) shall provide for the notification of each person specified in a domestic relations order as entitled to payment of benefits under the plan (at the address included in the domestic relations order) of such procedures promptly upon receipt by the plan of the domestic relations order, and (III) shall permit an alternate payee to designate a representative for receipt of copies of notices that are sent to the alternate payee with respect to a domestic relations order. (H) (i) During any period in which the issue of whether a domestic relations order is a qualified domestic relations order is being determined (by the plan administrator, by a court of competent jurisdiction, or otherwise), the plan administrator shall separately account for the amounts (hereinafter in this subparagraph referred to as the “segregated amounts”) which would have been payable to the alternate payee during such period if the order had been determined to be a qualified domestic relations order. (ii) If within the 18-month period described in clause (v) the order (or modification thereof) is determined to be a qualified domestic relations order, the plan administrator shall pay the segregated amounts (including any interest thereon) to the person or persons entitled thereto. (iii) If within the 18-month period described in clause (v)— (I) it is determined that the order is not a qualified domestic relations order, or (II) the issue as to whether such order is a qualified domestic relations order is not resolved, then the plan administrator shall pay the segregated amounts (including any interest thereon) to the person or persons who would have been entitled to such amounts if there had been no order. (iv) Any determination that an order is a qualified domestic relations order which is made after the close of the 18-month period described in clause (v) shall be applied prospectively only. (v) For purposes of this subparagraph, the 18-month period described in this clause is the 18-month period beginning with the date on which the first payment would be required to be made under the domestic relations order. (I) If a plan fiduciary acts in accordance with part 4 of this subtitle in— (i) treating a domestic relations order as being (or not being) a qualified domestic relations order, or (ii) taking action under subparagraph (H), then the plan’s obligation to the participant and each alternate payee shall be discharged to the extent of any payment made pursuant to such Act. (J) A person who is an alternate payee under a qualified domestic relations order shall be considered for purposes of any provision of this chapter a beneficiary under the plan. Nothing in the preceding sentence shall permit a requirement under section 1301 of this title of the payment of more than 1 premium with respect to a participant for any period. (K) The term “alternate payee” means any spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of a participant who is recognized by a domestic relations order as having a right to receive all, or a portion of, the benefits payable under a plan with respect to such participant. (L) This paragraph shall not apply to any plan to which paragraph (1) does not apply. (M) Payment of benefits by a pension plan in accordance with the applicable requirements of a qualified domestic relations order shall not be treated as garnishment for purposes of section 1673(a) of title 15 . (N) In prescribing regulations under this paragraph, the Secretary shall consult with the Secretary of the Treasury.

Source

29 USC § 1056(d)(3)


Scoping language

For purposes of this paragraph
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