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 sample QDRO form is available below 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.
COAERS Member Services Specialists are also available to discuss the effects a QDRO can have on your contributions or monthly retirement benefit. Contact us to set up an appointment.
For a Sample Divorce QDRO form, click here.
If you are a retiree receiving a monthly benefit payment and we receive a court order for child support signed by a judge that qualifies as a QDRO, we will deduct child support payments from your monthly benefit payment. COAERS will not deduct child support payments under a court order that does not meet the requirements to be a QDRO.
For a Sample Child Support QDRO, click here.
To view the COAERS Board Policy on QDRO, follow this link.