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  WCERS provides retirement services for Active, Deferred, Retired Wayne County Employees, Wayne County Airport Authority Employees and Wayne County 3rd Circuit Court Employees.

 

 

Divorce After Retirement

 

DISCLAIMER  

All or part of a Wayne County Employees’ Retirement System ("WCERS") retirement benefit may be subject to Michigan Community Property laws. It is important to remember that the Retirement Commission and WCERS staff cannot give legal advice as to how a divorce may impact a retirement benefit. In fact, it will be up to the Family Court to decide what interest a member's spouse and a former spouse have in any retirement allowance and other WCERS benefits. 

WCERS' role in the process is to see if any divorce orders violate our plan requirements. As long as a divorce order does not violate our plan, WCERS will not take a position on any divorce issues affecting a retirement benefit. 

The information on our Website is for general purposes only and is not designed to address the specific circumstances of your case. Also, issues regarding retirement benefits divided by a Domestic Relations Order may involve complex Community Property laws, other marital or tax issues. WCERS strongly encourages you to seek independent legal advice. 

  

THE PROCESS TO FILE AN ELIGIBLE DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER (EDRO), QUALIFED DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER (QDRO), AND/OR DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER (DRO) 

1) Participant in the Wayne County Employees’ Retirement System files for a divorce with the Circuit Court. 

2) The Circuit Court provides the parties with an official Judgment of Divorce that includes  a case and docket number that is assigned to both of the parties. 

3) The Judgment of Divorce establishes the financial rights each party has to the estate, this includes (if any) the rights the alternate payee (ex-spouse) may have in the participants retirement account. 

4) The participant and alternate payee has the duty to inform the Wayne County Employees Retirement System of the Divorce and provide a copy of the Judgment, stating what rights, if any, the alternate payee is entitled to. Parties must also submit a court executed EDRO, QDRO, and/or DRO, which provides for payment of future pension proceeds to a former spouse pursuant to an Order. This allows for the participants account to be segregated at that time, if so ordered. 

5) Alternate payee may submit a draft of the proposed EDRO, QDRO and/ or DRO so that the Wayne County Employees’ Retirement System may review it to check and see if the Order satisfies the requirements of the EDRO Act, Michigan Public Act of 1991 (MCL 38.1701 et seq.) or other applicable domestic relations law. The Wayne County Employees’ Retirement System shall further check that the Order is consistent with the provisions of the Retirement Plan. 

6) Upon receipt of the Court Executed EDRO, DRO, and/or QDRO, the Executive Director or Deputy Director shall notify the parties who will be affected by such Order by sending an "Acknowledgement of Receipt” letter. 

7) The Executive Director or Deputy Director shall review the Order and the Retirement System records to determine the appropriate Plan(s) applicable to the participant then subject to the terms of the Order and shall process the Order in accordance with its procedures. If the Order fails to comply, a notice will be sent to the parties to amend.  

8) Any Actuarial fees due to Review and Certification of an Order, will be shared among the parties.  

  

ALTERNATE PAYEES’ RESPONSIBILITIES 

It is the alternate payees’ obligation to monitor when he/she will be eligible to collect any benefits. There will be no communication sent from the Wayne County Employees’ Retirement System. It is the sole duty and responsibility of the alternate payee to be informed of their benefit rights. 

The Wayne County Employees’ Retirement System website, http://wcers.org/Retiree-Forms.html, provides sample EDRO forms for reference. WCERS strongly encourages that both parties seek legal advice as WCERS staff is prohibited from providing any. 

If the Participant or Alternate Payee has any questions they can contact the Retirement Office at 313.224.2816.