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The Office of Retirement Services (ORS) administers four Michigan retirement systems: public school employees, state employees, state police, and judges. With a customer base of 530,000 people, ORS affects one out of every nine Michigan households. ORS works with some 700 employers across the state. Within these systems, ORS administers four defined benefit pension plans, two defined contribution pension plans, and one defined benefit/defined contribution plan.
The Office of Retirement Services (ORS) implements EDROs under these four public retirement systems: Michigan Judges Retirement System, Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System, Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System, and Michigan State Police Retirement System.
An EDRO -- Eligible Domestic Relations Order -- divides retirement benefits in a state or local government retirement plan and meets the specific requirements of the EDRO Act. It provides directions about the division of a pension at time of retirement.
ORS administers two different retirement plans for State of Michigan employees: a Defined Benefit (DB) plan and a Defined Contribution (DC) plan.
A member hired by the State of Michigan on or after March 31, 1997 is a participant in the Defined Contribution (DC) plan, or if he or she began under the DB plan and chose to transfer to the DC plan under P.A. 487 of 1996 and retains the DB insurance Subsidy.
A member hired before March 31, 1997 is a participant in the Defined Benefit (DB) plan and he or she elected the DB Classified plan under P.A. 264 of 2011, or elected the DB 30 plan under P.A. 264 of 2011 and he or she has not yet reached 30 years of service.
An employee is a member of the DB plan AND a participant in the DC plan if he or she elected the DB 30 plan under P.A. 264 of 2011 and he or she has; reached 30 years of service; elected the DB/DC Blend plan under P.A. 264 of 2011, and thus became a DC plan participant April 1, 2012; or began his or her employment under the DB plan, left, and then returned to state employment on or after January 1, 2012, and before January 1, 2014. Learn more by reading our FAQs below.
A. A Domestic Relations Order (DRO), filed with a retirement system, typically 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: one, a Domestic Relations Order, is to be used for dividing a pension and may include voiding a survivor option, and the other, a Domestic Relations Order to Void the Survivor Option is to be used to void a survivor option only.
A. When spouses agree that the pension will be divided, an Eligible Domestic Relations Order (EDRO) must be filed with the ORS. An EDRO is a specific type of court order that covers active members of a public retirement system to provide directions for how to divide the pension at time of retirement. A judgment of divorce by itself is not sufficient; an EDRO must be filed with the retirement system. The best way to ensure a proper EDRO is to use the online EDRO.
A. A DRO is different from an EDRO because the latter applies only to orders filed with the retirement system before the retirement effective date (see Eligible Domestic Relations Order Act, 1991, PA 46). If a retiree wishes to divide a pension due to a divorce, the proper court order is a Domestic Relations Order.
A. EDROs submitted for a retiree already receiving pension payments are returned with a request for a DRO. The EDRO Act does not apply to retired members who are already receiving a pension administered by ORS. It applies only to members who are not yet receiving a pension payment. This includes active and deferred members. The EDRO must be filed before the member’s retirement effective date.
A. The requirements of a DRO under Michigan law, including the retirement system’s statute, must be met before a DRO can be administered by the retirement system. The best way to ensure a proper DRO is to use the appropriate DRO form noted above.
A. If he or she divorces after retirement, his or her pension is not affected unless he or she selected a survivor option.
A. A valid EDRO is one that is signed by a judge, stamped a true copy, and filed with the retirement system before the participant’s retirement effective date. Once the Participant has retired, a Domestic Relations Order 3(R323X) is required instead.
A. A valid DRO is one that is signed by a judge and stamped as a true copy by the court clerk. Members who are divorced while still actively employed file an Eligible Domestic Relations Order (EDRO). A DRO filed after the retiree’s death will not be accepted.
Visit the QDRO Info Center
Read Our Article in thePA Family Lawyer
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