You have no items in your shopping cart.
Search
Filters

Dividing Pensions and Other Employee Benefits in California Divorces

Written by specialists using a task-oriented approach, this book guides you confidently through California and applicable federal law.

"Thanks to the authors involved. I am so impressed with all the knowledge shared. This book is an invaluable resource."

Louise Nixon, Esq., President, QDRO counsel Inc., San Marino

Written by specialists using a task-oriented approach, this book guides you confidently through California and applicable federal law.

  • Learn key procedural steps, including interim court orders, to secure all employee benefits on divorce
  • Effectively deal with both corporate and union employee benefit plans
  • Understand how to characterize/divide benefits under private and public California and federal benefit plans, including PERS, STRS, military, railroad, and civil service
  • Determine types of ERISA benefit coverage and how to utilize/draft QDROs; avoid preemption issues
  • Appropriately use "time rule" divisions and "Gillmore" orders
  • Accurately divide/allocate interests in stock options, 401(k)s, executive and small business plans, and IRA accounts
OnLAW FA94380

Web access for one user.

 

$ 345.00
Print FA32380

looseleaf, updated 9/19

 

$ 345.00
Add Forms CD to Print FA22381
$ 99.00

"Thanks to the authors involved. I am so impressed with all the knowledge shared. This book is an invaluable resource."

Louise Nixon, Esq., President, QDRO counsel Inc., San Marino

Written by specialists using a task-oriented approach, this book guides you confidently through California and applicable federal law.

  • Learn key procedural steps, including interim court orders, to secure all employee benefits on divorce
  • Effectively deal with both corporate and union employee benefit plans
  • Understand how to characterize/divide benefits under private and public California and federal benefit plans, including PERS, STRS, military, railroad, and civil service
  • Determine types of ERISA benefit coverage and how to utilize/draft QDROs; avoid preemption issues
  • Appropriately use "time rule" divisions and "Gillmore" orders
  • Accurately divide/allocate interests in stock options, 401(k)s, executive and small business plans, and IRA accounts

1

Case Assessment and Planning

Darren J. Goodman

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  Scope of Chapter  1.1
    • B.  Overview  1.2
    • C.  Need to Consider Employee Benefits Early in Dissolution Process  1.3
  • II.  CLIENT INTERVIEW AND SCOPE OF SERVICES
    • A.  Importance of Client Interview  1.4
    • B.  Determining Scope of Legal Services  1.5
    • C.  Need to Consult With Outside Counsel or Other Professionals  1.6
      • 1.  Actuaries  1.7
      • 2.  Accountants  1.8
      • 3.  Life Insurance Professionals  1.8A
      • 4.  Attorney Specialists  1.9
        • a.  QDRO Attorney  1.10
        • b.  Employee Benefits/ERISA Attorney  1.11
  • III.  IDENTIFYING EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS AND OBTAINING REQUIRED INFORMATION
    • A.  Identifying Employee Benefit Plans  1.12
      • 1.  Plans Governed by ERISA  1.13
      • 2.  Public Entity and Other Non-ERISA Plans  1.14
    • B.  Obtaining Information About Plan
      • 1.  Information From Client
        • a.  When Client Is Employee  1.15
        • b.  When Client Is Nonemployee  1.16
      • 2.  Information From Plan
        • a.  Requests for Information Without Formal Discovery
          • (1)  General Need for Employee Authorizations  1.17
          • (2)  Dealing With Small and “Owner-Only” Plans  1.18
        • b.  Use of Formal Discovery  1.19
  • IV.  PLAN NOTICES, JOINDER, AND NEED FOR PRELIMINARY ORDERS
    • A.  Importance of Giving Notice Despite “Built-In” Plan Protections  1.20
    • B.  Notice of Adverse Interest and Joinder  1.21
    • C.  Need for Preliminary Orders in View of Plan Holds and Confirmation Practices  1.22
  • V.  CONSIDERATIONS IN DETERMINING HOW TO DIVIDE BENEFITS
    • A.  Evaluating Qualitative and Quantitative Elements  1.23
    • B.  Comparing Benefit Division Methods  1.24
    • C.  Types of Private Plans and Information Needed to Divide Them
      • 1.  Defined Benefit Plans  1.25
      • 2.  Defined Contribution Plans  1.26
    • D.  Governmental Plans and Information Needed to Divide Them  1.27
    • E.  Comparing “Like” and “Unlike” Plans
      • 1.  Comparing “Like” Plans  1.28
      • 2.  Comparing “Unlike” Plans  1.29
    • F.  Importance of Considering Personal Situations of Both Parties
      • 1.  Long-Term Planning Needed  1.30
      • 2.  Effect of Parties’ Ages  1.31
      • 3.  Effect of Party’s Death, Ill Health, or Disability
        • a.  Death or Ill Health in General  1.32
        • b.  Disability of Employee Spouse  1.33
      • 4.  Psychological Factors  1.34
      • 5.  Financial Needs  1.35
    • G.  Consideration of Tax Effects in Effecting Benefits Division  1.36
  • VI.  DEALING WITH PLAN ADMINISTRATORS
    • A.  Scope of Plan Administrator’s Duties and Functions  1.37
    • B.  Determining Plan’s Policies on Benefit Division Orders
      • 1.  Policy on Use of Plan’s Own Benefit Division Order  1.38
      • 2.  Policy on Fees for Reviewing Benefit Division Orders  1.39
  • VII.  OTHER ISSUES IN CASE ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING  1.40
    • A.  Market Fluctuations  1.41
    • B.  Anticipating Plan Insolvency and Involvement of PBGC  1.42
    • C.  Distinguishing Employee Benefits as Property From Income for Support  1.43
    • D.  Handling Benefits of Registered Domestic Partners and Same-Sex Spouses  1.44
  • VIII.  FORM: EMPLOYEE’S AUTHORIZATION TO OBTAIN INFORMATION FROM PLAN  1.45

2

Initial Procedures and Pretrial Orders

Marshall S. Zolla

Deborah Elizabeth Zolla

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER  2.1
  • II.  JURISDICTIONAL ISSUES  2.2
    • A.  Subject Matter and Personal Jurisdiction in General  2.3
    • B.  Effect of Jurisdictional Statutes and Need for Court Jurisdiction Over Employee Benefit Plan  2.4
      • 1.  Effect of Jurisdictional Statutes  2.5
      • 2.  Need for Court Jurisdiction Over Employee Benefit Plan  2.6
    • C.  Removal to Federal Court and Exclusive or Concurrent Jurisdiction
      • 1.  Background  2.7
      • 2.  Propriety of Removal; Concurrent Versus Exclusive Jurisdiction  2.8
  • III.  INFORMATIONAL REQUESTS AND NOTICES TO EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS  2.9
    • A.  Requests for Information About Employee Benefit Plans  2.10
    • B.  Notice of Adverse Interest  2.11
  • IV.  JOINDER OF EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN
    • A.  Overview of Joinder Issues  2.12
    • B.  Application of Joinder Rules to Particular Plans
      • 1.  ERISA-Governed Plans  2.13
      • 2.  California and Federal Government Plans  2.14
    • C.  Joinder Procedure
      • 1.  Application and Order for Joinder  2.15
      • 2.  Service of Joinder Order and Related Papers  2.16
      • 3.  Employee Benefit Plan’s Response  2.17
  • V.  CONFIRMING HOLD ON BENEFITS AND ANTICIPATING TRIGGERING EVENTS
    • A.  Confirming Hold on Benefits  2.18
    • B.  Anticipating “Triggering Events”  2.19
  • VI.  SEEKING TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS AND QDROs  2.20
    • A.  Restraining Orders in Summons  2.21
    • B.  Restraining Orders After Hearing and Temporary QDROs
      • 1.  Restraining Orders After Hearing  2.22
      • 2.  Temporary QDROs  2.23
  • VII.  SPECIAL PRETRIAL ORDERS
    • A.  Alternate Valuation Date  2.24
    • B.  Bifurcation of Marital Status  2.25
  • VIII.  CONSIDERATIONS FOR REGISTERED DOMESTIC PARTNERS  2.26
  • IX.  OTHER CONSIDERATIONS IN TAKING INITIAL ACTIONS
    • A.  Factors in Dealing With Employee Benefits and Benefit Plans  2.27
    • B.  Keeping Settlement in Mind While Taking Initial Actions  2.28
  • X.  FORMS
    • A.  Form: Request for Joinder of Employee Benefit Plan and Order (Judicial Council Form FL-372)  2.29
    • B.  Form: Pleading on Joinder—Employee Benefit Plan (Judicial Council Form FL-370)  2.30
    • C.  Form: Summons (Joinder) (Judicial Council Form FL-375)  2.31
    • D.  Form: Notice of Appearance and Response of Employee Benefit Plan (Judicial Council Form FL-374)  2.32
    • E.  Form: Sample Letter Notice of Adverse Interest  2.33
    • F.  Form: Request or Response to Request for Separate Trial (Judicial Council Form FL-315)  2.34
    • G.  Form: Sample Letter to Opposing Counsel Requesting Employee Benefit Plan Information  2.35
    • H.  Form: Bifurcation of Status of Marriage or Domestic Partnership—Attachment (Judicial Council Form FL-347)  2.36
    • I.  Form: Retirement Plan Joinder—Information Sheet (Judicial Council Form FL-318-INFO)  2.37

3

Discovery and Valuation of Employee Benefits

Lawrence E. Leone

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  Scope of Chapter  3.1
    • B.  Overview of Considerations
      • 1.  Understanding Employee Benefits in Dissolution Context
        • a.  Employee Benefits as Divisible Assets to Be Discovered and Valued  3.2
        • b.  Relationship of Discovery of Benefits to Support Issues  3.3
        • c.  Effect of Employee’s Organizational Bargaining Power on Discovery  3.4
        • d.  Effect of Employee Mobility and Changing Market Forces on Discovery  3.5
      • 2.  Attorney’s Standard of Care in Handling Discovery and Valuation Issues  3.6
  • II.  DISCOVERY OF EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
    • A.  Informal Discovery and Disclosure
      • 1.  Spousal Fiduciary Duties in General  3.7
      • 2.  Duty of Disclosure  3.8
      • 3.  Requests for Benefit Statements From Employee Benefit Plans  3.9
    • B.  Formal Discovery
      • 1.  Overview and Scope of Issues  3.10
      • 2.  Summary of Statutory Discovery Tools  3.11
        • a.  Oral Depositions  3.12
        • b.  Written-Question Depositions  3.13
        • c.  Interrogatories  3.14
        • d.  Requests for Admissions  3.15
        • e.  Demands for Production of Documents or Things for Inspection  3.16
        • f.  Request for Evaluation  3.17
        • g.  Demand to Exchange Expert Witness Lists  3.18
        • h.  Business Records or “Records and Testimony” Subpoena  3.19
      • 3.  Application of Various Discovery Devices  3.20
      • 4.  Use of Discovery Checklist  3.21
      • 5.  Discovery Related to Expert Opinion
        • a.  Overview  3.22
        • b.  Deposition of Expert  3.23
  • III.  VALUATION OF BENEFITS IN GENERAL
    • A.  Valuation Distinguished From Characterization  3.24
    • B.  When Valuation Needed  3.25
    • C.  Date of Valuation
      • 1.  General Rule  3.26
      • 2.  Alternate Date Based on Good Cause  3.27
    • D.  Benefits Need Not Have “Matured” to Be Valued and Divided  3.28
    • E.  Benefits Need Not Be Fully Vested to Be Valued and Divided  3.29
    • F.  Consideration of Tax Effects  3.30
    • G.  Use of Valuation Experts  3.31
      • 1.  Types of Expert
        • a.  Accountants  3.32
        • b.  Actuaries  3.33
        • c.  Economists  3.34
        • d.  ERISA Attorney  3.35
      • 2.  Use of Single Versus Joint Expert  3.36
  • IV.  APPLICATION OF VALUATION, DISCOVERY, AND RELATED CONCEPTS TO PARTICULAR PLANS AND BENEFITS
    • A.  Defined Benefit, Defined Contribution, and Hybrid Plans in General
      • 1.  Defined Benefit Plans  3.37
      • 2.  Defined Contribution Plans  3.38
      • 3.  Hybrid Plans  3.39
      • 4.  Effect of Contributory or Noncontributory Nature of Plan  3.40
    • B.  IRA, SEP-IRA, and Keogh Plans
      • 1.  Individual Retirement Account (IRA)  3.41
      • 2.  Simplified Employee Pension (SEP-IRA)  3.42
      • 3.  Keogh (HR 10) Plan  3.43
    • C.  California and Federal Employee Benefit Plans
      • 1.  California State and Local Plans  3.44
      • 2.  Federal Plans
        • a.  CSRS and FERS  3.45
        • b.  Military Retirement Plans  3.46
    • D.  Disability Benefits
      • 1.  Private Disability Benefits  3.47
      • 2.  Military Disability Benefits  3.48
    • E.  Stock Options and Other Fringe Benefits
      • 1.  Stock Options  3.49
      • 2.  Other Fringe Benefits
        • a.  Overview of Key Potential Benefits  3.50
        • b.  Court’s Discretion in Considering Benefits  3.51
        • c.  Specific Benefits
          • (1)  Group Health and Life Insurance  3.52
          • (2)  Vacation Pay  3.53
          • (3)  Housing Benefits  3.54
          • (4)  Termination and Severance Benefits  3.55
          • (5)  Enhanced or Early Retirement Benefits  3.56
    • F.  Survivor and Death Benefits  3.57
  • V.  FORMS AND CHECKLISTS
    • A.  Form: Sample Attachment to Request for Production of Documents  3.58
    • B.  Sample Discovery Checklist  3.59
    • C.  Sample Checklist for Deposition of Expert  3.60

4

Settlement-, Trial-, and Judgment-Related Matters

Marie Bechtel

CEB Staff

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER  4.1
  • II.  SETTLEMENT
    • A.  Assessing Settlement Opportunities Throughout Case
      • 1.  Informal and Formal Opportunities Outside of Court Setting  4.2
      • 2.  Formal Settlement Conferences at Courthouse  4.3
    • B.  Need to Consider Full Range of Benefits and Long-Term Consequences of Dissolution
      • 1.  Consideration of Full Range of Divisible and Nondivisible Benefits  4.4
      • 2.  Consideration of Long-Term Consequences of Dissolution for Each Party  4.5
    • C.  Alternative Settlement Approaches
      • 1.  “Cash-Out” or Offset of Employee Benefits Against Other Assets
        • a.  Overview  4.6
        • b.  Need for Valuation
          • (1)  Defined Benefit Plans  4.7
          • (2)  Defined Contribution Plans  4.8
        • c.  Discounting to Net Present Value  4.9
        • d.  Discounting for Taxes  4.10
      • 2.  Division of Benefits in Kind
        • a.  Overview  4.11
        • b.  Apportioning Community and Separate Interests  4.12
        • c.  In-Kind Division Issues for Various Plans
          • (1)  Private ERISA Plans Subject to QDRO  4.13
          • (2)  State Public Agency Plans  4.14
          • (3)  Federal Agency Plans
            • (a)  Federal Civil Service  4.15
            • (b)  Military Plans  4.16
    • D.  Choosing Property Settlements Versus Spousal Support  4.17
    • E.  Drafting Settlement Agreements and Stipulations for Judgment
      • 1.  General Drafting Considerations  4.18
      • 2.  Inclusion of Information That Would Enable Use of Agreement as Division Order  4.19
  • III.  TRIAL
    • A.  Overview of Issues  4.20
    • B.  Trial Court’s Duty to Value and Divide Benefits
      • 1.  Nature of Court’s Statutory Mandate  4.21
      • 2.  Court’s Wide Discretion in Dividing Benefits  4.22
      • 3.  Use of “Time Rule” to Measure Community and Separate Interest in Certain Benefits  4.23
      • 4.  Use of Other Criteria to Measure Community and Separate Interests  4.24
      • 5.  Court’s Valuation and Characterization of Benefits  4.25
        • a.  Assets Valued Close to Time of Trial  4.26
        • b.  Alternate Valuation Date  4.27
      • 6.  Attendance by Plan  4.28
    • C.  Evidentiary Presentation on Character and Value of Benefits  4.29
      • 1.  Planning Presentation
        • a.  Identifying Areas of Dispute  4.30
        • b.  Particular Benefits
          • (1)  Mortgage Subsidy or Loan Forgiveness  4.31
          • (2)  Bonus Income  4.32
          • (3)  Subsidized Housing  4.33
          • (4)  Health Insurance  4.34
          • (5)  Severance Pay  4.35
      • 2.  Use of Documentary Evidence  4.36
      • 3.  Expert Witness Testimony  4.37
        • a.  Qualifying Expert  4.38
        • b.  Types of Experts
          • (1)  Accountants  4.39
          • (2)  Actuaries  4.40
          • (3)  Retirement Plan Specialists  4.41
      • 4.  Testimony of Parties  4.42
      • 5.  Use of Depositions of Parties or Others  4.43
    • D.  Attorney Fees and Costs Awards  4.44
  • IV.  JUDGMENT AND POSTJUDGMENT ISSUES
    • A.  Judgment
      • 1.  Overview  4.45
      • 2.  General Considerations in Drafting Judgment Dividing Employee Benefits
        • a.  Use of Judicial Council Forms; Procedural Considerations  4.46
        • b.  Reserving Court’s Jurisdiction  4.47
        • c.  Redacting Identifying Numbers  4.47A
        • d.  Drafting Judgment to Meet Criteria as QDRO or Other Benefits Division Order
          • (1)  Importance of Judgment Providing Information on Benefits Division  4.48
          • (2)  Meeting Statutory Criteria for ERISA and Public Plan Benefits  4.49
            • (a)  ERISA Benefits  4.50
            • (b)  Military Benefits  4.51
            • (c)  Federal Civil Service Benefits, Civil Service Retirement System, and Railroad Retirement Benefits  4.52
            • (d)  CalPERS and CalSTRS
              • (i)  California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS)  4.53
              • (ii)  California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS)  4.54
        • e.  Preparing Separate QDRO or Other Benefits Division Order  4.55
      • 3.  Handling Bifurcated and Nunc Pro Tunc Judgments
        • a.  Bifurcated Judgments  4.56
        • b.  Nunc Pro Tunc Judgments  4.57
      • 4.  Service of Judgment or Separate Order Dividing Benefits
        • a.  Judgment  4.58
        • b.  Separate Order Dividing Benefits  4.59
        • c.  Effect of Plan Joinder on Service  4.60
    • B.  Postjudgment Matters
      • 1.  Overview of Postjudgment Matters  4.61
      • 2.  Actions to Challenge Judgment
        • a.  Determining Finality of Judgment  4.62
        • b.  Appeal
          • (1)  Appealability of Judgments and Orders  4.63
          • (2)  Appeal in Bifurcated Proceeding  4.64
          • (3)  Notice of Appeal  4.65
        • c.  Motion for New Trial  4.66
        • d.  Motion or Action to Set Aside Judgment  4.67
      • 3.  Motion or Action to Divide Omitted Benefits  4.68
    • C.  Enforcement Issues
      • 1.  Overview of General Issues  4.69
      • 2.  Enforcement of Judgment Against ERISA Plan  4.70
        • a.  Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies Under ERISA  4.71
        • b.  Standard of Review of Plan Administrator’s Determinations  4.72
        • c.  Jurisdiction to Hear Challenge to Determination of Plan  4.73
      • 3.  Enforcement of Judgment Against Employee  4.74
      • 4.  Bankruptcy as Barrier to Enforcement
        • a.  Bankruptcy of Employer and Benefit Plan  4.75
        • b.  Bankruptcy of Employee Spouse  4.76
    • D.  Closing Out Case
      • 1.  Overview  4.77
      • 2.  Personal Address and Benefits Custodian Changes
        • a.  Importance of Informing Plan of Address Changes  4.78
        • b.  Importance of Monitoring Changes in Custodian of Benefits and Serving Order on Plan  4.79

5

Employee Benefit Plans Governed by ERISA

Cassie Springer Ayeni

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER  5.1
  • II.  INTRODUCTION TO ERISA PLANS  5.2
    • A.  Participant and Beneficiary Defined  5.3
    • B.  Types of ERISA Welfare Plans  5.4
      • 1.  Entity That Makes Benefit Decision  5.5
      • 2.  Health Plans  5.6
        • a.  COBRA  5.7
        • b.  Cal-COBRA  5.8
      • 3.  Disability Plans
        • a.  ERISA Generally Applies  5.9
        • b.  Amount and Duration of Benefits at Issue  5.10
      • 4.  Life Insurance Plans  5.11
      • 5.  Other Common ERISA Welfare Plans and Benefits  5.12
    • C.  Types of ERISA Pension Plans  5.13
      • 1.  Defined Contribution Plans
        • a.  Definition and Form of Benefit  5.14
        • b.  Types of Defined Contribution Plans  5.15
      • 2.  Defined Benefit Plans
        • a.  Definition and Form of Benefit  5.16
        • b.  Plan Termination and Federal Pension Insurance Program  5.17
    • D.  Protection of Spousal Interests in ERISA Pension Plans
      • 1.  ERISA’s Antialienation Provisions, Retirement Equity Act, and Qualified Domestic Relations Orders  5.18
      • 2.  Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuities  5.19
      • 3.  Qualified Preretirement Survivor Annuities  5.20
      • 4.  Nonqualified ERISA Plans: Excess Benefit and “Top Hat” Plans  5.21
    • E.  Plans Not Governed by ERISA  5.22
      • 1.  Governmental and Church Plans  5.23
      • 2.  Non-United States Plans  5.24
      • 3.  Exempted Practices  5.25
        • a.  “Safe Harbor” Insurance Plans  5.26
        • b.  Plans Without Employees  5.27
  • III.  ERISA PREEMPTION  5.28
    • A.  Conflict Preemption  5.29
    • B.  “Express” or “Relates to” Preemption  5.30
  • IV.  OVERVIEW OF PERTINENT ERISA SUBSTANTIVE REGULATION
    • A.  Reporting and Disclosure  5.31
    • B.  Participation and Vesting  5.32
      • 1.  Participation Standards  5.33
      • 2.  Minimum Vesting Standards  5.34
    • C.  Civil Enforcement  5.35

6

Use of QDROs to Divide Employee Benefits and Provide for Support

Joan M. Wetherell

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  Scope of Chapter  6.1
    • B.  Governing Statutes and Legislative History  6.2
  • II.  QDRO TERMINOLOGY AND OVERVIEW  6.3
    • A.  QDRO Defined  6.4
    • B.  Alternate Payee Defined  6.5
    • C.  Advantages of Using QDROs  6.6
      • 1.  QDRO Limits Employee’s Actions Regarding Benefits
        • a.  Effect of Plan’s Implementation of QDRO  6.7
        • b.  Court Can Require QDRO as Condition of Terminating Marital Status  6.8
      • 2.  Direct Payment by Plan  6.9
      • 3.  Nonemployee May Receive Benefits When Employee Eligible to Retire but Keeps Working (Gillmore Election)  6.10
      • 4.  QDRO Permits Application of Special Income Tax Rules  6.11
        • a.  Taxation of Each Party as Distributee  6.12
        • b.  Exception if Alternate Payee Is Not Spouse or Former Spouse  6.13
        • c.  Treatment of Rollovers From Plan Distributions  6.14
    • D.  Contrasting Considerations for Registered Domestic Partners  6.15
  • III.  GENERAL REQUIREMENTS AND DRAFTING CONSIDERATIONS FOR QDROS
    • A.  General Statutory Requirements  6.16
    • B.  Obtaining Information Necessary for Drafting QDROs; Use of Model Orders  6.17
    • C.  Drafting Considerations for Defined Contribution Versus Defined Benefit Plan QDROs  6.18
      • 1.  Defined Contribution Plans
        • a.  Overview  6.19
        • b.  Division of Benefits  6.20
        • c.  Early Withdrawal Tax Issue  6.21
        • d.  Plan Fund Choices and Loans
          • (1)  Plan Fund Choices  6.22
          • (2)  Plan Loans  6.23
      • 2.  Defined Benefit Plans
        • a.  Traditional Defined Benefit Plans
          • (1)  Overview  6.24
          • (2)  Assessing Retirement Status of Employee-Participant  6.25
          • (3)  Death Issues
            • (a)  Effect of Employee’s Death Before Retirement on Survivorship Rights of Spouse or Former Spouse  6.26
            • (b)  Effect of Employee’s Death After Retirement on Survivorship Rights of Spouse or Former Spouse  6.27
            • (c)  Death of Alternate Payee  6.28
          • (4)  Division of Benefits  6.29
            • (a)  Shared Benefit  6.30
            • (b)  Separate Benefit (Interest)  6.31
        • b.  Cash Balance Plans  6.32
  • IV.  OTHER QDRO ISSUES
    • A.  Imposition of Temporary QDROs  6.33
    • B.  General Procedures for Review of QDROs by Employee Benefit Plans  6.34
  • V.  USE OF QDROS TO PROVIDE FOR SUPPORT  6.35
  • VI.  FORMS
    • A.  Form: Sample Defined Benefit Plan QDRO  6.36
    • B.  Form: Sample Defined Contribution Plan QDRO  6.37
    • C.  Form: Sample Temporary (Interim) QDRO  6.38
    • D.  Form: Qualified Domestic Relations Order for Support (Judicial Council Form FL-460)  6.39
    • E.  Form: Attachment to Qualified Domestic Relations Order for Support (Judicial Council Form FL-461)  6.40
    • F.  Form: Sample Qualified Domestic Relations Order for Spousal Support  6.41

7

Review of QDROs by Corporate Employee Benefit Plans

Wayne S. Jacobsen

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  Scope of Chapter  7.1
    • B.  Identifying Plan Sponsor and Administrator; Governing Law  7.2
  • II.  OVERVIEW OF PLAN OBLIGATIONS AND RISKS IN QDRO ADMINISTRATION
    • A.  Obligations
      • 1.  Obligations Under ERISA  7.3
      • 2.  Obligations Under California Law  7.4
    • B.  Risks
      • 1.  Loss of Tax-Qualified Status  7.5
      • 2.  Labor Department Enforcement  7.6
      • 3.  Liability for Duplicate or Late Payments  7.7
      • 4.  Attorney Fee Awards  7.8
      • 5.  Liability for Negligent Advice  7.9
  • III.  PLAN COMPLIANCE AND RISK MITIGATION IN HANDLING QDROS
    • A.  Need for Specific Procedures in Handling QDROs  7.10
      • 1.  ERISA-Mandated QDRO Procedures  7.11
      • 2.  Adoption of Internal Plan Procedures  7.12
    • B.  Procedures Before Domestic Relations Order Is Received  7.13
      • 1.  Placing Hold on Benefits Distributions  7.14
        • a.  Hold Based on Formal or Informal Notice  7.15
        • b.  Treatment of Lump-Sum and Other Distributions After Notice Received  7.16
      • 2.  Permitting Investment Elections Despite Hold  7.17
      • 3.  Release of Hold  7.18
      • 4.  Mistaken Payments  7.19
      • 5.  Informational Requests  7.20
      • 6.  Preapproval of QDROs  7.21
    • C.  Procedures After Receipt of Domestic Relations Order
      • 1.  Notice of Receipt of Order and Plan Procedures  7.22
      • 2.  Determination of Qualified Status of Order
        • a.  “Reasonable Period” to Consider Qualification of Order  7.23
        • b.  Effect of Automatic Stay if Plan Joined to Proceeding  7.24
        • c.  Treatment of Payments Owed During 18-Month Accounting Period
          • (1)  Determining Status of Order  7.25
          • (2)  Status of Order Is Not Determined  7.26
      • 3.  Handling Nonqualified Orders
        • a.  Notice to Plan Participant and Alternate Payee  7.27
        • b.  Addressing Deficiencies in Order  7.28
          • (1)  Order Must Substantially Comply With QDRO Requirements  7.29
          • (2)  Obtaining Clarifications Without Modifying Order  7.30
          • (3)  Deficiencies Requiring Modification of Order
            • (a)  Order Addresses Improper Subject Area  7.31
            • (b)  Nonqualifying Alternate Payee  7.32
            • (c)  Unidentifiable Plan  7.33
            • (d)  Benefits Division Completely Unclear  7.34
            • (e)  Payments Required Before Participant’s “Earliest Retirement Age”  7.35
            • (f)  Order Requires Increased Benefits  7.36
            • (g)  Order Awards Benefits Previously Awarded to Different Alternate Payee  7.37
            • (h)  Order Permits Alternate Payee to Make Improper Election of Joint and Survivor Annuity  7.38
    • D.  Payment Procedures  7.39
  • IV.  USE OF MODEL QDROS  7.40
  • V.  SPECIAL ISSUES
    • A.  Assessing Fees for Costs of QDRO Administration
      • 1.  Against Plan  7.41
      • 2.  Against Plan Participant  7.42
    • B.  Cash Balance Conversions  7.43
    • C.  Survivor Annuities  7.44
    • D.  Death of Alternate Payee
      • 1.  Continuation of Payments Depends on Type of QDRO and Plan  7.45
      • 2.  Posthumous QDROs  7.46
    • E.  QDRO for Support Obligations  7.47
    • F.  Benefits Under Welfare Plans  7.48

8

Review of QDROs by Union Employee Benefit Plans

Richard K. Grosboll

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  Scope of Chapter  8.1
    • B.  Background and Description of Union Plans  8.2
  • II.  PROCESS OF QDRO ADMINISTRATION  8.3
    • A.  Joinder of Plan  8.4
    • B.  Acquiring Plan and Benefit Information  8.5
    • C.  Time Element for Reviewing QDROs  8.6
    • D.  Charging Fees for Processing QDROs  8.7
    • E.  Key Considerations and Issues in Qualifying Court Orders Directed to Union Pension Plans  8.8
      • 1.  Plan Name  8.9
      • 2.  Plan Formula  8.10
      • 3.  Future Benefit Increases  8.11
      • 4.  Disability Benefits  8.12
      • 5.  “13th Checks” or Other Extra Payments  8.13
      • 6.  Survivor Benefits if Alternate Payee Predeceases Employee  8.14
      • 7.  Benefits Payable When Employee Reaches Early Retirement Age  8.15
      • 8.  Benefits Payable When Employee Leaves Industry  8.16
      • 9.  Benefits Payable After Specific Term of Service  8.17
    • F.  Use of Plan’s Sample Orders
      • 1.  Benefits in Using Sample Orders  8.18
      • 2.  Potential Disadvantages in Using Sample Orders; Modifications  8.19

9

Employee Welfare and Other Nonpension Benefits

Teresa S. Renaker

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER  9.1
  • II.  DISTINGUISHING ERISA AND NON-ERISA WELFARE PLAN BENEFITS  9.2
    • A.  ERISA Welfare Benefit Plan Defined  9.3
    • B.  Non-ERISA-Governed Benefits Distinguished  9.4
      • 1.  Payroll Practices  9.5
      • 2.  “Safe Harbor” Plans  9.6
      • 3.  Benefits Provided by Plans Without Employees  9.7
      • 4.  Miscellaneous Non-ERISA Welfare Benefits  9.8
    • C.  Plans Sponsored by Exempt Employers Distinguished  9.9
      • 1.  Governmental Plans  9.10
      • 2.  Church Plans  9.11
  • III.  EFFECT OF ERISA PREEMPTION, QDRO RULES, AND VESTING STANDARDS IN DIVIDING WELFARE PLAN BENEFITS  9.12
    • A.  ERISA Preemption of State Law  9.13
    • B.  Preemption Exception for QDROs and Applicability to Welfare Plans  9.14
    • C.  Division of Nonvested Benefits  9.15
  • IV.  ISSUES IN DIVIDING SPECIFIC WELFARE PLAN BENEFITS
    • A.  Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance Benefits  9.16
      • 1.  Whole Life  9.17
      • 2.  Term Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment  9.18
    • B.  Vacation Benefits  9.19
      • 1.  Vacation Benefits Subject to California Law  9.20
      • 2.  Vacation Benefits Subject to ERISA  9.21
    • C.  Medical Benefits
      • 1.  Continuation Coverage Under COBRA for ERISA-Governed Group Health Plans  9.22
        • a.  Excepted Plans  9.23
        • b.  Qualified Beneficiary and Qualifying Event  9.24
        • c.  Requirement of Notice by Employee or Qualified Beneficiary  9.25
        • d.  Requirement of Notice by Plan Administrator  9.26
        • e.  Time for Making Election  9.27
        • f.  Applicable Premium  9.28
        • g.  Duration of Coverage  9.29
      • 2.  Continuation Coverage Under Group Health Plans Not Subject to Federal COBRA  9.30
      • 3.  Qualified Medical Child Support Orders  9.31
        • a.  Definition of Medical Child Support Order  9.32
        • b.  Alternate Recipient  9.33
        • c.  Content Requirements for Qualification  9.34
        • d.  Procedural Requirements for Qualification  9.35
        • e.  Duration of Benefits  9.36
        • f.  Exemption From Preemption  9.37
        • g.  Enforcement  9.38
      • 4.  Retiree Medical Benefits  9.39
    • D.  Disability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Benefits
      • 1.  Disability Insurance Benefits  9.40
      • 2.  Workers’ Compensation Benefits  9.41
    • E.  Stock Options  9.42
    • F.  Severance and Termination Benefits
      • 1.  Characterization as Community or Separate Property  9.43
        • a.  Voluntary-Separation Incentives  9.44
        • b.  Termination Benefits  9.45
      • 2.  Determining if Severance Pay Arrangement Is Governed by ERISA  9.46

10

Stock Options and Benefits Under Executive Business Plans

Debra S. Frank

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  Scope of Chapter  10.1
    • B.  Characterization of Benefits  10.2
  • II.  STOCK OPTIONS
    • A.  Types of Stock Options and Their Taxation in General
      • 1.  Types of Stock Options
        • a.  Background  10.3
        • b.  Qualified Stock Options
          • (1)  Overview  10.4
          • (2)  Incentive Stock Options  10.5
          • (3)  Employee Stock Purchase Plans  10.6
        • c.  Nonqualified Stock Options  10.7
      • 2.  Income Taxation of Stock Options in General
        • a.  Qualified Stock Options
          • (1)  Incentive Stock Options  10.8
          • (2)  Employee Stock Purchase Plan  10.9
        • b.  Nonqualified Stock Options  10.10
    • B.  Dividing and Valuing Stock Options on Marital Dissolution
      • 1.  Apportioning Community and Separate Interests  10.11
      • 2.  Valuation  10.12
      • 3.  Related Tax Issues  10.13
    • C.  Stock Options as Income for Support  10.14
  • III.  EXECUTIVE BENEFITS
    • A.  Analyzing Benefits Under Executive Compensation Plans  10.15
    • B.  Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans
      • 1.  Overview and Tax Issues
        • a.  Overview  10.16
        • b.  Tax Issues Concerning Division of Nonqualified Executive Benefits  10.17
      • 2.  Supplemental Executive Retirement Plans (SERPs)  10.18
      • 3.  “Rabbi Trusts”  10.19
    • C.  Internal Revenue Code §457 Plans  10.20

11

IRA Accounts and Small-Employer Plans

Susan L. Jeffries

Sara L. Ennor

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  Scope of Chapter  11.1
    • B.  Background  11.2
  • II.  INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS
    • A.  Overview  11.3
    • B.  Employer-Involved IRAs
      • 1.  Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA  11.4
      • 2.  Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA  11.5
      • 3.  Deemed IRA Under Qualified Employer Plan  11.6
    • C.  IRAs Created Independent of Employer Involvement, by Rollover From Another Plan or Otherwise
      • 1.  IRAs Created Independent of Employer Involvement
        • a.  Traditional IRA  11.7
        • b.  Roth IRA  11.8
        • c.  Education IRA (Coverdell Education Savings Accounts)  11.9
      • 2.  “Rollover” IRAs  11.10
        • a.  Benefits That Can Be Rolled Over to IRA or Between IRAs  11.11
        • b.  Procedure to Effect Rollover
          • (1)  Time Limitations  11.12
          • (2)  Transfers Versus Direct Rollovers  11.13
    • D.  Apportioning and Valuing Interests Incident to Division of IRAs  11.14
    • E.  Related Income Tax Issues
      • 1.  General Rule of Tax Liability for Distributions, Absent Rollover  11.15
      • 2.  Exception for IRA Transfers “Incident to Divorce”  11.16
      • 3.  Penalty Taxes and Withholding on Distributions
        • a.  Penalty Taxes  11.17
        • b.  Withholding  11.18
  • III.  SMALL-EMPLOYER PLANS  11.19
    • A.  Identifying Small-Employer Plans (Earlier Keogh Plans and Successors)  11.20
    • B.  Dividing IRC §401(a) Qualified Plans of Small Employers
      • 1.  Need for QDRO  11.21
      • 2.  Income Tax Issues
        • a.  General Rules for Distribution to Employee  11.22
        • b.  Distribution Under QDRO  11.23

12

California Public Employees’ Retirement System Benefits

Richard R. Muir

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  Scope of Chapter  12.1
    • B.  CalPERS Resources  12.2
  • II.  CALPERS SCOPE AND COVERAGE
    • A.  Public Employees Covered by CalPERS  12.3
    • B.  Reciprocity of Service Credit Between Retirement Systems  12.4
    • C.  Treatment of Registered Domestic Partners and Same-Sex Spouses  12.5
  • III.  BENEFITS AVAILABLE UNDER CALPERS DEFINED BENEFIT PLAN
    • A.  Overview of CalPERS Benefits  12.6
    • B.  Variations in Benefit Programs Under CalPERS
      • 1.  Understanding CalPERS Tiers  12.7
      • 2.  Second Tier Benefits  12.8
      • 3.  Alternate Retirement Program  12.9
    • C.  Benefit Features That Affect Value  12.10
      • 1.  Safety Members Generally Receive Greater Benefits  12.11
      • 2.  Postretirement Benefit Increases  12.12
      • 3.  Maximum Benefits Payable
        • a.  Determination of Maximum Benefit in General  12.13
        • b.  Contrast Between Safety and “Miscellaneous” Members  12.14
        • c.  Application of New Formulas to Current and Former Members  12.15
    • D.  Survivor Benefits
      • 1.  Statutory Entitlement to Survivor Benefits on Dissolution  12.16
      • 2.  Preretirement Survivor Benefits  12.17
      • 3.  Postretirement Survivor Benefits  12.18
        • a.  Optional Continuance of Survivor Benefits at Member’s Election  12.19
        • b.  Employer-Provided Survivor Continuances  12.20
  • IV.  DIVISION OF BENEFITS UNDER CALPERS DEFINED BENEFIT PLAN  12.21
    • A.  Preliminary Steps
      • 1.  Joinder of Plan and Request for Information  12.22
      • 2.  Notice of Adverse Interest  12.23
        • a.  Member Not Yet Retired or Retirement Pending
          • (1)  Immediate Notice Important  12.24
          • (2)  CalPERS Hold on Benefits  12.25
          • (3)  Effect of Local Safety Member’s Pending Industrial Disability Retirement  12.26
        • b.  Member Retired  12.27
    • B.  Consideration of Repurchased or Purchasable Service Credit
      • 1.  Ability to Obtain Credit for Prior Service  12.28
      • 2.  “Airtime” Distinguished  12.29
    • C.  Consideration of Nonmember’s Social Security Benefits  12.29A
    • D.  Division Methods
      • 1.  Separation of Account
        • a.  Description of Method  12.30
        • b.  Effect of Member’s Vesting on Nonmember’s Elective Options  12.31
        • c.  Treatment of Redeposit and Purchase Rights; Calculation of Benefits  12.32
        • d.  Situations in Which Separation of Account Is Useful  12.33
          • (1)  Member Approved for IDR  12.34
          • (2)  Member Has Reached Maximum Percentage of Benefits  12.35
          • (3)  Use of Separate Account in Conjunction With Gillmore Rights  12.36
          • (4)  Simplicity  12.37
          • (5)  Combining Separate-Account and Certain Shared-Account Payments  12.38
      • 2.  Time-Rule Division
        • a.  Overview  12.39
        • b.  Survivor and Option Continuances  12.40
        • c.  Disability Retirement  12.41
          • (1)  Apportioning Community and Separate Interest  12.42
          • (2)  Tax Issues Involving Disability Retirement  12.43
        • d.  Purchasable Service Credit  12.44
        • e.  Effect of Reaching Maximum Retirement Percentage  12.45
        • f.  Treatment of Unused Sick Leave  12.46
        • g.  Restatement of Court Order to Separation of Account; Survivor Annuities  12.47
        • h.  Preservation of Gillmore Rights  12.48
    • E.  Effect of Dissolution After Member’s Retirement
      • 1.  Election to Receive Payments Generally Precludes Separation of Account  12.49
      • 2.  Special Rule to “Unwind” Member’s Retirement  12.50
      • 3.  Loss of Eligibility for Survivor Continuance  12.51
      • 4.  Providing for Optional Continuance of Survivor Benefits  12.52
    • F.  Court Order Dividing Benefits May Exclude Certain Identifying Information  12.53
  • V.  EFFECT OF CALPERS MEMBER’S PARTICIPATION IN DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLANS  12.54
  • VI.  OVERVIEW OF JUDGES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM  12.55
    • A.  Judges’ Retirement System I
      • 1.  Description  12.56
      • 2.  Division Methods
        • a.  Separation of Account  12.57
        • b.  Time-Rule Division  12.58
      • 3.  Postretirement Dissolution  12.58A
    • B.  Judges’ Retirement System II
      • 1.  Description  12.59
      • 2.  Division of Benefits Limited to Separation of Account and Cash-Out  12.60
      • 3.  Postretirement Dissolution  12.61
  • VII.  FORMS
    • A.  Form: Sample Notice to Plan Under Fam C §755 of Nonemployee’s Interest  12.62
    • B.  Form: Sample Award of Survivor Continuance to Nonmember  12.63
    • C.  Form: Sample Language to Account for Income Taxes for CalPERS Order Involving IDR  12.64
    • D.  Form: Sample Language That Permits CalPERS to Inquire About Reimbursement When Member Retires  12.65
    • E.  Form: Sample Language That Precludes Addition of Further Service Credit to Time-Rule Denominator Once Member Reaches Maximum Retirement Percentage  12.66
    • F.  Form: Sample Language That Does Not Preclude Consideration of Unused Vacation or Sick Leave as Community Property  12.67
    • G.  Form: Sample Language if Member Already Retired on Industrial Disability Retirement at Time of Dissolution  12.68

13

California State Teachers’ Retirement System Benefits

Richard R. Muir

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER  13.1
  • II.  EDUCATIONAL EMPLOYEES COVERED BY CALSTRS  13.2
  • III.  OVERVIEW OF PROGRAMS ADMINISTERED BY CALSTRS
    • A.  Programs Summarized  13.3
    • B.  Defined Benefit Program  13.4
    • C.  Defined Benefit Supplement Account  13.5
    • D.  Cash Balance Benefit Program  13.6
    • E.  Voluntary Investment Program  13.7
  • IV.  OTHER GENERAL FEATURES OF CALSTRS BENEFITS  13.8
    • A.  Single Retirement Formula; Increases and Incentives  13.9
      • 1.  Longevity of Service  13.10
      • 2.  Early Retirement Incentives  13.11
      • 3.  Purchase and Repurchase of Service Credit Incentive  13.12
      • 4.  Accumulated Unused Sick and Educational Leave  13.13
    • B.  CalSTRS Annual Statement and Account Balances  13.14
    • C.  Maximum Benefits Payable  13.15
    • D.  Election of Partial Lump-Sum Payment  13.16
    • E.  Reciprocity  13.17
    • F.  Survivor Benefits
      • 1.  Limited Survivor Annuities Available  13.18
      • 2.  Preretirement Election for Optional Survivor Benefits  13.19
      • 3.  Effect of Nonmember’s Death  13.20
    • G.  Disability Retirement and Disability Allowance  13.20A
  • V.  OBTAINING ORDERS TO DIVIDE CALSTRS BENEFITS
    • A.  Joinder of CalSTRS to Dissolution Proceeding  13.21
    • B.  Administrative Holds and Withholding on Joinder or Notice of Adverse Interest
      • 1.  Administrative Hold if Member Not Yet Retired  13.22
      • 2.  No Withholding if Member Retired  13.23
    • C.  General Factors in Choosing Method to Divide Benefits
      • 1.  Shared- Versus Separate-Interest Methods of Dividing Benefits
        • a.  Shared Interest Required if Member Retired  13.24
        • b.  Separate Interest (Segregation of Account)
          • (1)  Segregated Account Generally Not Recommended  13.25
          • (2)  Advantages of Segregated Account  13.26
      • 2.  Time-Rule Division  13.27
      • 3.  Treatment of Option Beneficiary in Postretirement Dissolution  13.27A
      • 4.  Consideration of Nonmember’s Social Security Benefits  13.27B
    • D.  Division of IRC §403(b) Plans
      • 1.  Overview  13.28
      • 2.  Information Provided by Investment Provider; Discovery  13.29
      • 3.  Orders Directed to Investment Provider  13.30
      • 4.  Handling Specialized Requests of Investment Providers  13.31
    • E.  Exclusion of Social Security Numbers and Dates of Birth From Orders Dividing Benefits  13.32
  • VI.  FORMS
    • A.  Form: Sample Stipulated Order Dividing Benefits Using Time Rule, With “Option 8” Election [Deleted]  13.33
    • B.  Form: Sample Stipulated Qualified Domestic Relations Order Dividing IRC §403(b) Benefits  13.34
    • C.  Form: Sample QDRO Attachment Identifying Parties  13.35
    • D.  Form: Sample Letter to Investment Provider Regarding IRC §403(b) Benefits Division  13.36

14

County and Municipal Employee Benefits

Richard R. Muir

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER  14.1
  • II.  COUNTY RETIREMENT SYSTEM AND ’37 ACT COUNTIES
    • A.  Nature of Benefits and Employee Groups  14.2
      • 1.  Variance in County Plans  14.3
      • 2.  Maximum Benefit and Calculation of Final Compensation  14.4
    • B.  Methods of Division
      • 1.  Segregation of Account
        • a.  Establishment and Operation of Segregated Account  14.5
        • b.  Effect of Disability Retirement if Segregated Account Used  14.6
      • 2.  Division Under “Time Rule” Formula  14.7
        • a.  Survivor Benefits
          • (1)  Nonmember’s Entitlement in General  14.8
          • (2)  Member’s Election to Provide Survivor Benefit  14.9
          • (3)  Postretirement Survivor Continuances  14.10
          • (4)  Loss of Surviving-Spouse Benefit  14.11
          • (5)  Allocating Cost of Optional Continuance  14.12
        • b.  Gillmore Election
          • (1)  Making Election to Receive Benefits at Member’s Earliest Retirement Age  14.13
          • (2)  Effect of Direct Payment by Member to Nonmember Before Retirement  14.14
          • (3)  Survivor Benefits  14.14A
          • (4)  Waiver of Gillmore Rights  14.15
          • (5)  Conversion After Member Retires  14.16
          • (6)  Cautions in Electing Gillmore Payments  14.17
          • (7)  Consideration of Nonmember’s Social Security Benefits  14.17A
  • III.  CITY, COUNTY, AND OTHER MUNICIPAL RETIREMENT SYSTEMS  14.18
    • A.  Supplemental Plans Through Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS)  14.19
    • B.  City of Los Angeles Plans  14.20
      • 1.  Police and Fire
        • a.  Description of Basic Retirement System  14.21
        • b.  Survivor Benefits  14.22
        • c.  Deferred Retirement Option Program  14.23
      • 2.  Nonsafety Members in General  14.24
      • 3.  Department of Water and Power
        • a.  Description of Basic Retirement Benefits  14.25
        • b.  Survivor Benefits  14.26
      • 4.  County Metropolitan Transportation Authority  14.27
  • IV.  FORMS
    • A.  Form: Sample Order to Facilitate Segregation of Account Under LACERS Plan  14.28
    • B.  Form: Sample Language to Revise Prior Order if Gillmore Rights Elected  14.29
    • C.  Form: Sample Order After Hearing and Wage Assignment on Award of Gillmore Rights  14.30

15

Federal Employees’ Retirement System Benefits

Cindy Lynn Wofford

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  Scope of Chapter  15.1
    • B.  Overview of FERS  15.2
  • II.  REQUIREMENTS FOR FERS COVERAGE
    • A.  Persons Covered by FERS  15.3
    • B.  Contributions to FERS Retirement Fund  15.4
    • C.  Service Requirements and Vesting
      • 1.  Creditable Service  15.5
      • 2.  Treatment of Elective Withdrawals, Redeposits, and Unused Sick Leave  15.6
      • 3.  Vesting  15.7
  • III.  REFUNDS OF LUMP-SUM CREDIT AND RETIREMENT OPTIONS
    • A.  Refunds of Lump-Sum Credit
      • 1.  Refunds to Separating Employee or Member  15.8
      • 2.  Refunds to Survivors  15.9
    • B.  Retirement Options  15.10
      • 1.  Immediate Retirement on Meeting Age and Service Requirements  15.11
      • 2.  Early Retirement
        • a.  Involuntary (Discontinued Service) Retirement  15.12
        • b.  Voluntary Retirement (Early Out)  15.13
      • 3.  Disability Retirement  15.14
      • 4.  Deferred Retirement  15.15
  • IV.  USE OF BENEFIT FORMULAS IN COMPUTING ANNUITIES
    • A.  Basic Formula  15.16
    • B.  Disability Retirement  15.17
    • C.  Special Retirement Supplement  15.18
  • V.  CURRENT AND FORMER SPOUSE’S SURVIVOR BENEFITS
    • A.  Limitations on Payment of Survivor Benefits  15.19
    • B.  Persons Who May Qualify as “Surviving Spouse” or “Former Spouse”  15.20
    • C.  Basic Death Benefit if Active Employee Without Eligibility for Annuity Dies  15.21
    • D.  Current-Spouse Annuity if Active Employee With Qualifying Service Dies  15.22
    • E.  Lump-Sum Credit or Current-Spouse Annuity if Separated Employee With Qualifying Service Dies  15.23
    • F.  Effect of Court Order in Favor of Former Spouse  15.24
    • G.  Amount and Duration of Survivor Annuities for Current and Former Spouses
      • 1.  Effect of Elections At or After Employee’s Retirement
        • a.  Provision for Current-Spouse Survivor Annuity
          • (1)  Annuity Automatic Unless Contrary Election Made With Spousal Consent  15.25
          • (2)  Waiver of Survivor Annuity by Employee or Current Spouse  15.26
        • b.  Election to Provide for New Spouse on Employee’s Marriage or Remarriage  15.27
        • c.  Election to Provide for Former Spouse Who Did Not Earlier Waive Survivor Benefits  15.28
      • 2.  Starting and Ending Dates of Survivor Annuities
        • a.  Current-Spouse Annuity  15.29
        • b.  Former-Spouse Annuity  15.30
    • H.  Supplemental Annuity to Surviving Spouse Who Is Under Age 60  15.31
  • VI.  COURT-ORDERED BENEFITS FOR FORMER SPOUSES
    • A.  Introduction  15.32
    • B.  Definitions  15.33
    • C.  Administrative Provisions Applicable to All COAPs
      • 1.  OPM’s Role  15.34
      • 2.  Application for Benefits Under COAP  15.35
      • 3.  Commencement of Annuity Payments Under COAP  15.36
      • 4.  Receipt of Multiple Court Orders  15.37
      • 5.  Settlements Inconsistent With COAP  15.38
      • 6.  Addresses for Filing Court Orders With OPM  15.39
    • D.  Terms of Court Orders  15.40
      • 1.  Restriction on Use of ERISA Language  15.41
      • 2.  Order Providing Lifetime Benefits for Former Spouse Does Not Qualify  15.42
      • 3.  Award of Community Share Must Show Method of Computation  15.43
      • 4.  Award of “Present Value” Must State That Value  15.44
      • 5.  Identification of Retirement System and Benefits Awarded  15.45
      • 6.  Method of Payment to Former Spouse  15.46
      • 7.  Necessary Information to Compute Benefit  15.47
      • 8.  Type of Annuity Specified  15.48
      • 9.  Processing Amended COAPs; Effect of Employee’s Retirement or Death  15.49
  • VII.  ANNUITY FOR CHILDREN OF DECEASED EMPLOYEE  15.50
  • VIII.  OVERVIEW OF THRIFT SAVINGS PLANS  15.51
    • A.  Nature of Thrift Savings Plans  15.52
    • B.  Relationship of Thrift Savings Plan to Other FERS and CSRS Benefits  15.53
    • C.  Division of Thrift Savings Plan Benefits on Marital Dissolution  15.54
  • IX.  REFERENCES
    • A.  Items Available From OPM  15.55
    • B.  Items Available From Federal Employees News Digest  15.56
    • C.  Items Available From Thrift Savings Plan Website  15.57
  • X.  FORM: COURT ORDER ACCEPTABLE FOR PROCESSING  15.58

16

Civil Service Retirement System Benefits

Cindy Lynn Wofford

  • I.  INTRODUCTION
    • A.  Scope of Chapter  16.1
    • B.  Overview and Governing Law  16.2
  • II.  ELIGIBILITY, SERVICE, AND VESTING REQUIREMENTS
    • A.  Employees and Members of Congress Covered by CSRS  16.3
    • B.  CSRS Offset  16.4
    • C.  Creditable Service  16.5
    • D.  Vesting  16.6
  • III.  CONTRIBUTIONS TO CSRS RETIREMENT FUND
    • A.  Mandatory Contributions  16.7
    • B.  Voluntary Contributions (Increased Benefits and TSP)
      • 1.  Contributions to Purchase Additional Annuity  16.8
      • 2.  Contributions to TSP  16.9
  • IV.  REFUNDS OF LUMP-SUM CREDIT
    • A.  Refunds to Separated Employee or Member  16.10
    • B.  Refunds to Survivors  16.11
  • V.  RETIREMENT OPTIONS  16.12
    • A.  Immediate Voluntary Retirement  16.13
    • B.  Early Retirement
      • 1.  Involuntary (Discontinued Service) Retirement  16.14
      • 2.  Voluntary Retirement (Early Out)  16.15
    • C.  Disability Retirement  16.16
    • D.  Deferred Retirement  16.17
  • VI.  USE OF BENEFIT FORMULAS IN COMPUTING ANNUITIES
    • A.  Annuity Benefits for Regular Retirement  16.18
    • B.  Disability Retirement  16.19
  • VII.  SURVIVOR BENEFITS OF CURRENT AND FORMER SPOUSES
    • A.  Limitations on Payment of Survivor Benefits  16.20
    • B.  Persons Who May Qualify as “Surviving Spouse” or “Former Spouse”
      • 1.  “Surviving Spouse”  16.21
      • 2.  “Former Spouse”  16.22
    • C.  General Description of Survivor Annuities for Current Spouse  16.23
    • D.  General Description of Survivor Annuities for Former Spouse  16.24
    • E.  Effect of Elections and Waivers on Annuity Amount  16.25
    • F.  Starting and Ending Dates of Survivor Annuities  16.26
  • VIII.  COURT-ORDERED BENEFITS FOR FORMER SPOUSES  16.27
  • IX.  BENEFITS FOR DEPENDENT CHILDREN  16.28
  • X.  REFERENCES  16.29
  • XI.  FORM: COURT ORDER ACCEPTABLE FOR PROCESSING  16.30

17

Military Retirement Benefits

Marshal S. Willick

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER  17.1
  • II.  IMPORTANCE OF ADDRESSING MILITARY RETIREMENT BENEFITS ON MARITAL DISSOLUTION  17.2
  • III.  BACKGROUND TO DIVISION OF MILITARY BENEFITS IN DISSOLUTION LITIGATION  17.3
    • A.  Early Litigation, McCarty, and USFSPA
      • 1.  Early Litigation  17.4
      • 2.  Supreme Court Decides McCarty  17.5
      • 3.  Enactment and Operation of USFSPA
        • a.  Enactment of USFSPA  17.6
        • b.  Operation of USFSPA  17.7
      • 4.  Gap Between McCarty and USFSPA  17.8
    • B.  Important Cases for California Practitioners  17.9
    • C.  National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017  17.9A
      • 1.  What Has Changed  17.9B
      • 2.  Effect of Statutory Change Made by NDAA  17.9C
      • 3.  Important Points About "Frozen Benefit" Rule  17.9D
      • 4.  Coping With and Compensating for Changed Statute  17.9E
      • 5.  Suggested Wording to Divide Benefits  17.9F
    • D.  The "Blended Retirement" Effective as of 2018  17.9G
  • IV.  KEY CONCEPTS IN DIVIDING MILITARY RETIREMENT BENEFITS
    • A.  Necessity of Obtaining Federal Jurisdiction  17.10
    • B.  “Time Rule”  17.11
    • C.  Conundrum of “Disposable Retired Pay”  17.12
    • D.  “Ten-Year” Rule  17.13
  • V.  NEED FOR VALUATION OF MILITARY RETIREMENT BENEFITS AND DIVISION IN KIND AS ALTERNATIVE
    • A.  Determining Amount of Money Actually Involved  17.14
    • B.  Determining Present Value of Benefits  17.15
    • C.  Adjustments for Cost of Living (COLA)  17.16
    • D.  Division of Benefits in Kind (“If, As, and When” Division)  17.17
  • VI.  PROGRAMS, BENEFITS, AND EVENTS THAT MAY AFFECT RETIREMENT BENEFITS VALUE
    • A.  “Early Outs”: VSI, SSB, and Early Retirement  17.18
    • B.  CSB/REDUX Payment  17.19
    • C.  Late Retirement by Members  17.20
    • D.  Disability Benefits
      • 1.  General Considerations  17.21
      • 2.  Alternatives and Analogies: “Early Outs,” and Role of Spousal Support`  17.22
      • 3.  Relationship of Disability to Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)  17.23
      • 4.  Concurrent Receipt of Longevity and Disability Benefits  17.24
      • 5.  Temporary Disability Before Retirement Eligibility  17.24A
      • 6.  Limits to 38 USC §5301 Exempt Property Classification  17.24B
      • 7.  Partition Actions and Related Motions  17.24C
    • E.  Death Benefits in Military Retirement System
      • 1.  Introduction  17.25
      • 2.  Death of Member
        • a.  Before Retirement and Before Dissolution  17.26
        • b.  Before Retirement and After Dissolution  17.27
        • c.  After Retirement and Before Dissolution  17.28
        • d.  After Retirement and After Dissolution  17.29
      • 3.  Death of Member’s Spouse  17.30
      • 4.  SBP Premium
        • a.  General Rules to Allocate Premium  17.31
        • b.  Reallocating Premium  17.32
      • 5.  Choosing Between Current and Former Spouse as Proper Beneficiary of SBP  17.32A
      • 6.  “Free” Survivorship Interest Available During Active Duty  17.32B
      • 7.  Loophole for Remarried Former Spouse SBP Premiums  17.32C
      • 8.  Opt Out “Escape” Provision  17.32D
      • 9.  Reserve Component SBP  17.33
    • F.  Servicemember’s Life Insurance  17.34
  • VII.  MEDICAL AND OTHER ANCILLARY BENEFITS TO CONSIDER
    • A.  Medical Benefits  17.35
    • B.  Accrued Leave  17.36
  • VIII.  TREATMENT OF MILITARY RESERVISTS  17.37
  • IX.  POSTJUDGMENT DIVISION OF BENEFITS  17.38
  • X.  EFFECT OF BANKRUPTCY  17.39
  • XI.  TAX ASPECTS OF MILITARY RETIREMENT BENEFITS  17.40
  • XII.  INTERACTIONS BETWEEN MILITARY AND CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENTS  17.41
    • A.  Effect on Military Retirement of Civil Service Employment  17.42
    • B.  Military Retirement Component of Civil Service Retirement  17.43
  • XIII.  THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN
    • A.  Description of Plan  17.44
    • B.  Withdrawal and Borrowing of Money From TSP
      • 1.  During Service  17.45
      • 2.  After Retirement  17.46
      • 3.  Court-Ordered Division of TSP  17.47
      • 4.  Survivorship Benefits for TSP  17.48
  • XIV.  SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT OF 2003  17.48A
  • XV.  CHECKLIST FOR MILITARY RETIREMENT BENEFITS CASES  17.49
  • XVI.  FORMS
    • A.  Form: Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Election Statement for Former Spouse Coverage (DD Form 2656–1)  17.50
    • B.  Form: Involuntary Allotment Application (DD Form 2653)  17.51
    • C.  Form: Involuntary Allotment Notice and Processing (DD Form 2654)  17.52
    • D.  Form: Application for Annuity—Certain Military Surviving Spouses (DD Form 2769)  17.53
    • E.  Form: Application for Former Spouse Payments From Retired Pay (DD Form 2293)   17.54

18

Railroad Retirement Benefits

Shannon Elms

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER  18.1
  • II.  OVERVIEW OF RAILROAD RETIREMENT BENEFITS SYSTEM  18.2
  • III.  TIER I AND TIER II BENEFITS DISTINGUISHED  18.3
    • A.  Tier I Benefits Not Divisible as Community Property  18.4
    • B.  Tier II Benefits Divisible by Court Order
      • 1.  Overview  18.5
      • 2.  Computation of Employee’s Monthly Annuity Rate  18.6
    • C.  Other Divisible Annuity Components  18.7
    • D.  Division of Railroad Retirement Disability Annuities  18.8
  • IV.  PROCEDURE FOR DIVISION AND DISTRIBUTION OF TIER II BENEFITS
    • A.  Steps Leading to Court Order Acceptable for Processing  18.9
    • B.  Summary of Requirements for Order Dividing Benefits  18.10
    • C.  Policy on Preapproval of Court Orders  18.11
    • D.  Railroad Retirement Board Action on Receipt of Court Order  18.12
  • V.  FORMS
    • A.  Form: Sample General Language for Order Dividing Railroad Retirement Benefits  18.13
    • B.  Form: Sample General Language for Formula Award in Order Dividing Railroad Retirement Benefits  18.13A
    • C.  Form: Sample General Language for Percentage Award in Order Dividing Railroad Retirement Benefits  18.13B
    • D.  Form: Sample General Language for Fixed-Dollar Amount Award in Order Dividing Railroad Retirement Benefits  18.13C
    • E.  Form: Sample Agreement of Spouse or Former Spouse  18.14

DIVIDING PENSIONS AND OTHER EMPLOYEE BENEFITS IN CALIFORNIA DIVORCES

(1st Edition)

September 2019

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

File Name

Book Section

Title

CH01

Chapter 1

Case Assessment and Planning

01-045

§1.45

Form: Employee’s Authorization to Obtain Information from Plan

CH02

Chapter 2

Initial Procedures and Pretrial Orders

02-033

§2.33

Sample Letter Notice of Adverse Interest

02-035

§2.35

Sample Letter to Opposing Counsel Requesting Employee Benefit Plan Information

CH03

Chapter 3

Discovery and Valuation of Employee Benefits

03-058

§3.58

Sample Attachment to Request for Production of Documents

03-059

§3.59

Sample Discovery Checklist

03-060

§3.60

Sample Checklist for Deposition of Expert

CH06

Chapter 6

Use of QDROs to Divide Employee Benefits and Provide for Support

06-036

§6.36

Sample Defined Benefit Plan QDRO

06-037

§6.37

Sample Defined Contribution Plan QDRO

06-038

§6.38

Sample Temporary (Interim) QDRO

06-041

§6.41

Sample Qualified Domestic Relations Order for Spousal Support

CH12

Chapter 12

California Public Employees’ Retirement System Benefits

12-062

§12.62

Sample Notice to Plan Under Fam C §755 of Nonemployee’s Interest

12-063

§12.63

Sample Award of Survivor Continuance to Nonmember

12-064

§12.64

Sample Language to Account for Income Taxes for CalPERS Order Involving IDR

12-065

§12.65

Sample Language That Permits CalPERS to Inquire About Reimbursement When Member Retires

12-066

§12.66

Sample Language That Precludes Addition of Further Service Credit to Time-Rule Denominator Once Member Reaches Maximum Retirement Percentage

12-067

§12.67

Sample Language That Does Not Preclude Consideration of Unused Vacation or Sick Leave as Community Property

12-068

§12.68

Sample Language if Member Already Retired on Industrial Disability Retirement at Time of Dissolution

CH13

Chapter 13

California State Teachers’ Retirement System Benefits

13-034

§13.34

Sample Stipulated Qualified Domestic Relations Order Dividing IRC §403(b) Benefits

13-035

§13.35

Sample QDRO Attachment Identifying Parties

13-036

§13.36

Sample Letter to Investment Provider Regarding IRC §403(b) Benefits Division

CH14

Chapter 14

County and Municipal Employee Benefits

14-028

§14.28

Sample Order to Facilitate Segregation of Account Under LACERS Plan

14-029

§14.29

Sample Language to Revise Prior Order if Gillmore Rights Elected

14-030

§14.30

Sample Order After Hearing and Wage Assignment on Award of Gillmore Rights

CH15

Chapter 15

Federal Employees’ Retirement System Benefits

15-058

§15.58

Form; Court Order Acceptable For Processing

CH16

Chapter 16

Civil Service Retirement System Benefits

16-030

§16.30

Form: Court Order Acceptable For Processing

CH17

Chapter 17

Military Retirement Benefits

17-009F

§17.9F

Suggested Wording to Divide Benefits

17-049

§17.49

Checklist for Military Retirement Benefits Cases

CH18

Chapter 18

Railroad Retirement Benefits

18-013

§§18.13-18.13C

Sample General Language for Order Dividing Railroad Retirement Benefits

 

§18.13A

Sample General Language for Formula Award in Order Dividing Railroad Retirement Benefits

 

§18.13B

Sample General Language for Percentage Award in Order Dividing Railroad Retirement Benefits

 

§18.13C

Sample General Language for Fixed-Dollar Amount Award in Order Dividing Railroad Retirement Benefits

18-014

§18.14

Sample Agreement of Spouse or Former Spouse

 

Selected Developments

September 2019 Update

Summarized below are some of the more important developments since the 2018 update of this publication.

CalPERS, CalSTRS, and Related Public Employee Benefits

The California Supreme Court held that an employee’s right to purchase nonqualified service credit, or “airtime,” was not a right protected by the contract clause of the California Constitution and could therefore be altered or eliminated by the legislature. The court narrowly decided that “airtime or ARC” are not core benefits that would be subject to the “California rule,” which states generally that once a pension benefit is given, it cannot be taken away. Cal Fire Local 2881 v CalPERS (2019) 6 C5th 965. See §§2.27, 12.2, 12.29, 13.12, 14.1.

Civil Service Retirement System

There is a new sample Court Order Acceptable for Processing form for civil service retirement benefits in §16.30.

Disability Insurance Benefits

Because a trial court found that a husband took out a disability insurance policy in order to satisfy a lender’s requirement and not for purposes of retirement, the policy proceeds paid after separation were the husband’s separate property. The court noted that post-retirement disability benefits can be community property to the extent that a former spouse elects to receive the disability benefits instead of community property pension benefits when that choice might disadvantage the non-employee spouse’s interest in the pension. Marriage of Marshall (2018) 23 CA5th 477. See §9.40.

ERISA Preemption

State law causes of action seeking to recover unpaid benefits under welfare benefit plan regulated under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) were barred by conflict preemption. Port Med. Wellness, Inc. v Connecticut Gen. Life Ins. Co. (2018) 24 CA5th 153. See §5.30.

Federal Employees’ Retirement System

There is an updated sample Court Order Acceptable for Processing for federal employees’ retirement benefits in §15.58.

Postjudgment Matters

The trial court properly set aside the default judgment of legal separation based on mistake of fact by the parties as to their compliance with the Fam C §§2104 and 2105 disclosure requirements. Marriage of Binette (2018) 24 CA5th 1119. See §4.67.

Property Valuation

For a case in which the trial court properly exercised its discretion to set a valuation date for real property after an appeal according to principles of equity based on the facts of the case, see Marriage of Oliverez (2019) 33 CA5th 298, 309. See §2.24.

Rules and Forms

In addition to the cases and statutory changes highlighted in this section, this update includes revisions that reflect court rule and form changes.

About the Authors

Marie Bechtel, Esq., is a partner in the San Jose law firm of Hoover & Bechtel, LLP. Ms. Bechtel, who limits her practice to family law, has some 15 years of experience that includes both trial and appellate work. She also has an extensive background in social work and child welfare matters, giving her a unique perspective that she brings to her law practice. Ms. Bechtel earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Calgary and her J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law. She is a contributing author of chap 4.

Shannon Elms, Esq., is an associate with the Law Offices of Russo & Prince in Solano County, where she has practiced primarily family law since 2003, after earning her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She served as the executive editor of the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly and achieved other honors at Hastings. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of chap 18.

Sara L. Ennor, Esq., maintains a law practice in San Leandro (Law Offices of Sara Langford Ennor). Her practice spans estate planning, trust administration, and ERISA and employee benefits issues. She is an active member of local and state bar associations and both regional and national pension administration associations. Ms. Ennor earned her undergraduate degree from the University of the Pacific and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law. She is the coauthor of chap 11.

Debra S. Frank, Esq., is a Certified Family Law Specialist, with a law practice in Los Angeles. She is a member of numerous local bar associations (including service as chair), as well as the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, and is a past member of the Executive Committee of the California State Bar Family Law Section. She has served as the editor of the Family Law Reference Book for the Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and also as a family law mediator for that bar association, and is a member of that bar association’s Family Law Section, Minor’s Counsel Committee. She has also served as a Judge Pro Tem and was a Commissioner and Vice Chairperson of the California Law Revision Commission from 1982 to 1983. Ms. Frank received her undergraduate degree from Boston University, a master’s degree from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, and her law degree from Southwestern University School of Law. She is the author of chap 10.

Darren J. Goodman, Esq., maintains a law practice in Westlake Village (QDRO Prep) and specializes in assisting both attorneys and nonattorneys in the division of retirement plan assets in connection with family law matters. Before establishing this practice in 1997, Mr. Goodman spent more than 5 years as an employee benefits consultant and attorney assisting both private employers and labor unions in the design, implementation, and operation of retirement plans. He frequently appears as a lecturer for local bar associations and has written numerous articles for family law journals. Mr. Goodman earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego, and his J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law. He is the author of chap 1.

Richard K. Grosboll, Esq., is a shareholder with the San Francisco law firm of Neyhart, Anderson, Flynn & Grosboll, a five-attorney firm that specializes in employee benefits and union-side labor law. He has practiced law for more than 25 years and represents many multiemployer pension, 401(k), health and welfare, and other trust funds, and is responsible for handling the QDROs for the pension funds. He is an adjunct professor on employee benefits law at Golden Gate University in San Francisco (where he received his J.D.) and has been a speaker at conferences sponsored by the International Foundation of Employee Benefits and by other organizations. He is also the co-chair of a subcommittee of the ABA Employee Benefits Committee. He received his undergraduate degree from Eastern Illinois University. Mr. Grosboll is the author of chap 8.

Wayne S. Jacobsen, Esq., is a tax attorney in the Newport Beach office of O’Melveny & Myers. He practices exclusively in the employee benefits field, including both litigation and transactional work, and has represented a wide array of business clients. Mr. Jacobsen is co-chair of the Glasser LegalWorks ERISA Litigation Conference and has lectured for several organizations, including the Western Pension and Benefits Conference, the National Institute of Pension Administrators, and the Employee Benefits Section of the Tax Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his J.D. from the University of Southern California School of Law. He is the author of chap 7.

Susan L. Jeffries, Esq., maintains a private law practice in Alameda. Her firm emphasizes family law but also handles business and tax matters. Ms. Jeffries has been active in many bar association activities, including continuing education programs, and she has written on family law tax matters. She earned her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and both a J.D. and LL.M. (Taxation) from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. She is the coauthor of chap 11.

Lawrence E. Leone, Esq., maintains a private law practice in Los Angeles, specializing in complex family law and mediation. Formerly of the family law firm Trope and Trope, Mr. Leone has played prominent roles with the family law sections of the Los Angeles County and the Beverly Hills bar associations. He has written extensively for the annual Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Symposium, and is an ongoing editorial consultant for the California Family Law Monthly. Mr. Leone has also served as a judge pro tem in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, as well as a family law mediator. He is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and was named a “Southern California Super Lawyer” by Los Angeles Magazine from 2004 to 2017. Mr. Leone earned his J.D. in 1977 from Loyola University of Los Angeles School of Law. He is the author of chap 3.

Richard R. Muir, Esq., maintains a family law practice in Upland (Law Offices of Richard R. Muir) that emphasizes pension, disability, and taxation issues in divorce, and particularly the preparation of QDROs. Mr. Muir has served as a court-appointed expert in some 500 matters in this area and has lectured extensively on QDROs and related pension issues. He is also a Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Muir earned both an LL.M. (Taxation) and J.D. from the University of San Diego Law School. He is the author of chaps 12–14.

Teresa S. Renaker, Esq., is a founding partner of the San Francisco law firm Renaker Hasselman, LLP. She specializes in ERISA law and is a frequent speaker on such related issues as preemption, class actions, and subrogation. She has served as a vice-chair of the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Employee Benefits Committee. Before starting her current firm, she was an associate and then a shareholder for many years at a national employee benefits and employment law firm, and served as a law clerk to the Hon. Irma Gonzalez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. She consistently has been named a “Top 100” Northern California lawyer by SuperLawyers magazine. Ms. Renaker received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she served as a senior executive editor of the California Law Review, and in 2014 was named the California Law Review Alumna of the Year. She is also a contributing author of (now-discontinued) California Domestic Partnerships and Same-Sex Marriage (Cal CEB). Ms. Renaker is the author of chap 9.

Cassie Springer Ayeni, Esq., is an employment law attorney with the Alameda law firm of Springer & Roberts, LLP. She formerly was an associate with Lewis, Feinberg, Renaker & Jackson, PC. She served as editor-in-chief of the Berkeley Women’s Law Journal, and externed for Hon. D. Lowell Jensen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Ms. Springer Ayeni earned her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, in 2002. She is also a contributing author of (now-discontinued) California Domestic Partnerships and Same-Sex Marriage (Cal CEB). Ms. Springer Ayeni is the author of chap 5.

Joan M. Wetherell, Esq., maintains a private law practice in Alamo that specializes in family law and is limited to pension and related issues. Before opening her own practice, she was a principal in the Pleasanton family law firm of Staley, Jobson, Wetherell & Ford. She is a Certified Family Law Specialist with over 25 years of experience as a practitioner. Ms. Wetherell has been active in local and state bar association matters as well as in the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists. She earned her undergraduate degree from California State University, East Bay, and her J.D. from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. She is the author of chap 6.

Marshal S. Willick, Esq., is a principal in his Las Vegas family law firm (Willick Law Group), which he founded in 1985. Mr. Willick is a Certified Family Law Specialist (Nevada) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. His practice includes extensive work in the area of employee benefits, and military benefits in particular. He has written and lectured widely on family law issues, especially in the benefits area, and his publications include Military Retirement and Benefits in Divorce (ABA 1998). He has served as chair of numerous local, state, and national bar association committees and delegations on a broad range of family law issues. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. He is the author of chap 17.

Cindy Lynn Wofford, Esq., is a tax attorney serving in the office of Chief Counsel of the IRS and is presently based in Dallas. Ms. Wofford practiced tax and estate planning for more than 20 years and domestic relations for more than 15 years in Washington, D.C., as well as practicing in Dallas and Houston, before commencing her current position with the IRS. She has authored numerous articles and other manuscripts on divorce and taxation issues, including the 1995 and 2001 editions of the Tax Management Portfolio, Divorce and Separation. Ms. Wofford received her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and her LL.M. (Taxation) from Southern Methodist University School of Law. She is the author of chaps 15–16.

Deborah Elizabeth Zolla, Esq., practices family law as an associate with the Law Offices of Marshall S. Zolla (Los Angeles). Ms. Zolla has coauthored a number of recent family law articles in scholarly journals and has lectured on family law issues for both the State Bar and Loyola Law School. She currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Barristers of the Beverly Hills Bar Association and is active in other local bar associations, as well as the State Bar. Ms. Zolla earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She is the coauthor of chap 2.

Marshall S. Zolla, Esq., is a longtime family law attorney and owner of his Los Angeles firm, the Law Offices of Marshall S. Zolla. Mr. Zolla is a Certified Family Law Specialist who has written and lectured widely on family law for more than 25 years and is a frequent contributor to the California Family Law Monthly and the Los Angeles Lawyer magazines. He has been actively involved in local and state bar association matters, as well as many community organizations, throughout his career. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. He is the coauthor of chap 2. Mr. Zolla acknowledges the invaluable research assistance and analysis provided by Jeff M. Imerman and Marc André Bertet.

About the 2019 Update Authors

Debra S. Frank, Esq., is the update author of chap 10; see the About the Authors section for a full bio.

Darren J. Goodman, Esq., is the update author of chap 1; see the About the Authors section for a full bio.

Richard K. Grosboll, Esq., is the update author of chap 8; see the About the Authors section for a full bio.

Wayne S. Jacobsen, Esq., is the update author of chap 7; see the About the Authors section for a full bio.

Lawrence E. Leone, Esq., is the update author of chap 3; see the About the Authors section for a full bio.

Richard R. Muir, Esq., is the update author of chaps 12–14; see the About the Authors section for a full bio.

Louise G. Nixon, Esq., has practiced law since 1994, specializing in retirement benefits, specifically, determining the community or marital interest in pension benefits earned through employment and in drafting appropriate orders for the division and disposition of those interests. She is founder and president of QDRO Benefits Law Group in Pasadena, California. In addition to her law practice, Ms. Nixon is cofounder and CEO of QDRO Counsel, which is a divorce and pension division legal support services company providing QDROs, valuations, and pension division case management tools. She is a frequent speaker regarding the division of retirement benefits at divorce. Ms. Nixon serves on the Board of Directors for the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law, and has been awarded the Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award. Ms. Nixon received her B.A. from the University of California, Davis, in 1984, and her J.D. from the Whittier College, School of Law (California), in 1993. Ms. Nixon is the update author of chap 5.

Teresa S. Renaker, Esq., is the update author of chap 9; see the About the Authors section for a full bio.

Marshal S. Willick, Esq., is the update author of chaps 15–17; see the About the Authors section for a full bio.

OnLAW System Requirements:
Desktop: Windows XP, 7 or 8, Mac OS 10.8
Mobile: iOS6, iOS7, Android 4.2
Firefox, Chrome, IE and Safari browsers

Note: OnLAW may work with some devices running older versions of these Operating Systems or Windows RT; however, functionality is not guaranteed.

Please see FAQs for more details.
Products specifications
PRACTICE AREA Public Law
PRACTICE AREA Family Law
PRODUCT GROUP Publication
Products specifications
PRACTICE AREA Public Law
PRACTICE AREA Family Law
PRODUCT GROUP Publication