Texas is a community property state, so any COAERS benefits you earn during marriage may be divided by a court in a divorce proceeding. If, during a divorce proceeding, it is determined that you will keep 100% of your COAERS benefit, we do not need any paperwork from you. However, if it is determined that you and your spouse will be dividing your COAERS benefit, you will need to submit a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A QDRO is a special legal order which is signed by the judge who has jurisdiction over your divorce. It tells us what portion of your retirement contributions or monthly retirement benefit to pay to your spouse and the form of payment (lump sum or annuity) after your divorce is final.
For COAERS to pay benefits to a former spouse (also called an alternate payee), the QDRO must meet specific requirements. QDROs that do not meet COAERS requirements will not be honored, which could result in delays and additional legal costs. A model QDRO form is available on our website for attorneys to use to draft the QDRO correctly. It is strongly recommended that you or your attorney present the QDRO to us prior to the finalization of your divorce. Our Member Services Specialists are also available to discuss the effects a QDRO can have on your contributions or monthly retirement benefit. Just contact us to set up an appointment.
If you receive a child support order and you are not yet retired, we will keep it in your file. When you retire or refund your account, we will then determine if we need to act on the order.
To view the COAERS Board Approved Policy on QDROS, follow this link. For a Sample QDRO form, click here.