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LACERA is bound by certain legal restrictions in paying retirement benefits when a divorce is pending:

  • If you divorce after retirement, LACERA will continue paying your full monthly allowance until we receive a conformed copy (with the court clerk's filing date stamp and the judge's signature) of the final Judgment of Dissolution directing a split of your allowance with your ex-spouse.

IMPORTANT: Notify LACERA immediately if you are retired and are in the process of a divorce.

Monthly Retirement Allowance & Death Benefit

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

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

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

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.

You may purchase COBRA insurance for your ex-spouse within 60 days of the qualifying event.

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 named your former spouse or domestic partner as beneficiary at the time of retirement, and you later divorce or terminate your domestic partnership, your “ex” will not 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) after (or less than one year before) 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.