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Background Information on QDROs Print
This section contains information for anyone who intends to assign a portion of his or her ATRS retirement plan benefits to a former spouse in a divorce. However, this explanation and the model order will not replace the advice of an attorney. You should consult your attorney to protect your interests in your ATRS benefits. Be sure that you understand completely the terms of any proposed court order, including any order based in whole or in part on this model order, before the judge signs it. While ATRS may provide you with information about its benefit plan and procedures, it cannot provide you with the legal advice regarding your divorce or explain the court orders for you. Please discuss these matters with your attorney.

In many divorces, the court will order a division of retirement benefits between the spouse participating in a retirement plan and the spouse who is not a participant. The purpose is to permit the retirement system to pay the non-participating spouse retirement benefits even though he or she is not a participant in the retirement system. Direct payment to the former spouse allows federal income to be withheld and reported to the IRS and state taxing authority. Direct payment is not possible unless the court enters a QDRO that complies with the ATRS benefit code at Arkansas Code § 24-7-202 et. seq. and the domestic relations law on QDROs at Arkansas Code § 9-28-101 et. seq.

Please be aware that ATRS does not require retirement benefits be divided in a divorce. It is the court that makes the property division according to the “marital property” laws of the State. In some cases, the parties may prefer not to divide retirement benefits or negotiate an alternative property settlement. It is not necessary to provide a copy of your divorce decree to ATRS if no QDRO is being entered. The intent of the model QDRO is to assist attorneys and plan participants in preparing a QDRO that can be accepted and administered by ATRS when the court does decide to divide ATRS retirement benefits. It is not the intent of the model order to encourage or require the division of benefits.

If you are in the process of obtaining a divorce or you are divorced, ATRS can make a direct payment to your former spouse of any ATRS retirement benefits awarded by the court with a QDRO. In order to authorize ATRS to do this, you must provide ATRS with a QDRO signed by a court and the QDRO must be deemed “qualified” by ATRS. ATRS has a model QDRO to assist parties in preparing a QDRO for ATRS benefits. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions link in this section to assist you in using the model QDRO.

If you are not a participant but are assigned benefits from an ATRS participant’s account, you will need to complete the “Alternate Payee Enrollment Form” to enroll you to receive benefits from your former spouse. This form is available on our website at www.artrs.gov under the “Members” tab under Divorce and My ATRS Benefits link. Alternate payees need to complete the appropriate tax withholding forms and provide a copy of their social security card prior to receiving benefits from ATRS.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 June 2011 )