EBSA Issues Final Rule on Qualified Domestic Relations Orders

By Ilyse Schuman, Littler Mendelson P.C. Jun 15, 2010
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In June 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued a final rule clarifying certain issues relating to the timing and order of domestic relations orders under section 206(d)(3) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

According to a summary published in the Federal Register, the rule provides guidance to plan administrators, service providers, participants, and alternate payees on the qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) requirements under ERISA. The rule is being issued in response to a specific statutory directive contained in the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA).

In essence, the rule clarifies that a plan administrator cannot disqualify a domestic relations order (DRO) that otherwise meets ERISA’s QDRO standards solely because the order is issued after, or revises, another domestic relations order or QDRO. Similarly, a DRO that otherwise meets ERISA’s requirements to be a QDRO will not be disqualified because of the time at which it is issued, such as after the parties divorce, or after the death of the participant.

Moreover, the rule stipulates that these DROs are subject to the same requirements and protections that apply to all QDROs under section 206(d)(3) of ERISA.

EBSA issued an interim final rule in March 2007 involving the timing of a domestic relations order with regards to the Pension Protection Act.

Ilyse Schuman, a former top congressional staffer and policy advisor, is part of law firm Littler Mendelson's government affairs practice. She provides clients with strategic counsel and substantive knowledge on legislative and regulatory developments impacting employers.

Reposted with permission

Editor’s Note: This article should not be construed as legal advice.

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