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BENEFITS


ACTIVE - DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

OVERVIEW

If your marriage is dissolved, the Court may order a division of your monthly retirement allowance.

  • Once LACERA receives notice that a member‘s benefit is subject to a division of community property and an additional court order is required, a legal hold must be placed on the member’s account. This hold will remain on the member’s account until retirement (and will appear on the member’s Annual Benefit Statement), even if LACERA receives an appropriate court order.
  • You must provide LACERA with a conformed copy (with the court clerk’s filing date stamp and the judge’s signature) of all the pages of your Judgment of Dissolution.
  • If the judgment states a further order IS required, provide LACERA copies of a Domestic Relations Order (DRO) or a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). If you are unsure about the need for additional documents, LACERA’s Legal Division will review the judgment to ascertain if an additional order is required.
  • ATTENTION: If you are in the process of a divorce at the time of retirement, LACERA cannot pay your retirement allowance until the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is final and a court order directing the community property division of your LACERA benefits is received.

If you divorced on or after January 1, 2002, your ex-spouse is NOT eligible for any benefit upon your death unless payment is mandated by court order or you designate your ex-spouse as beneficiary after the divorce. If you divorced before January 1, 2002, and your ex-spouse is your Primary Beneficiary at the time of your death, he or she would be eligible for a lump-sum death benefit, if applicable.

MONTHLY RETIREMENT ALLOWANCE & DEATH BENEFIT

In the course of dissolution proceedings, the court may order an active member to elect a Retirement Option.

You may change your beneficiary designation for the $5,000 lump-sum death benefit at any time after retirement. However, the Retirement Option you selected may restrict changes to your Primary Beneficiary designation:

If you elect the Unmodified Retirement Option, Unmodified+Plus, or Option 1, you may designate a new Primary Beneficiary. If you divorced on or after January 1, 2002, your ex-spouse is NOT eligible for any benefit upon your death unless payment is mandated by court order or you designate your ex-spouse as beneficiary after the divorce. If you divorced before January 1, 2002, and your ex-spouse is your Primary Beneficiary at the time of your death, he or she would be eligible for a lump-sum death benefit, if applicable.

NOTE: An ex-spouse is NOT considered to be an eligible surviving spouse and therefore is not eligible to receive a monthly continuing allowance under the Unmodified Retirement Option, even if he or she is named as beneficiary after the divorce. An ex-spouse would be eligible to receive a community property portion of a lump-sum benefit, if applicable.

  • If you elect Option 2, Option 3, or Option 4, you may NOT change your beneficiary. If you name your ex-spouse as a beneficiary at the time of your retirement, he or she will receive a monthly continuing allowance after your death.

Active members in Plan A, B, C, D and E may change their beneficiary designation at any time prior to retirement.

For more information about your retirement plan, see the Plan Book Section.

Retiree Healthcare

To remove your spouse from your healthcare coverage, you must notify your Department’s Personnel or Human Resources office. In some cases, the court will order continuation of an ex-spouse’s health insurance, and will hold you financially responsible for maintaining that coverage.

If your marriage is dissolved, you must contact LACERA to update your records. Failure to provide LACERA with the required documents may result in a delay of your retirement benefits.

HOW DIVORCE AFFECTS ELIGIBILITY FOR SURVIVOR HEALTHCARE

Divorce impacts more than a retiree’s retirement allowance; it also affects eligibility for LACERA-administered survivor healthcare.

  • If you divorce (or terminate your registered domestic partnership) during your active service, your “ex” will not be eligible for LACERA-administered survivor healthcare upon your death.
  • If you divorce during active service and later remarry (or enter into a registered domestic partnership) at least one year prior to retirement, and at retirement you designate your new spouse or domestic partner to receive a continuing monthly allowance, he or she will be eligible for LACERA-administered survivor healthcare upon your death.
  • If you divorce (or terminate your registered domestic partnership) during active service and remarry (or enter into a registered domestic partnership) less than one year prior to retirement, your new spouse or domestic partner will not be eligible for LACERA-administered survivor healthcare upon your death.

For additional information, call 800-786-6464 and press 1 to speak with a LACERA Healthcare Benefits Specialist.

 

2/10/14