Getting Divorced

Divorce can affect many aspects of your life, including your retirement benefits. If you find yourself going through a divorce, here are some other important things to consider:

  • Your retirement benefit is considered marital property, and your spouse may be entitled to a portion of your benefit in the event of divorce.
  • The State of Michigan enacted the Eligible Domestic Relations Order Act (MCL 38.1701 et seq) — also known as EDRO Act — to authorize the payment of public employee retirement system assets to certain individuals and to prescribe the powers and duties of certain retirement systems, state departments, public officials, and public employees.
  • If you are going through a divorce and there is an intended assignment of a share of your MERS benefit(s), a domestic relations order (DRO) must be entered with the court and filed with MERS. Complete the following steps:
    1. Download and print the applicable sample DRO below. These sample orders are to help reduce errors and allow our members and their attorneys to create orders that can be administered under Michigan statutes, the MERS Plan Document(s) and the EDRO Act.
      • DRO for Defined Benefit (form 71) — for retired members only
      • EDRO for Defined Benefit Plan (form 72) — for active/terminated members
      • DRO for Hybrid Plan (form 74) — for active/terminated/retired members
      • DRO for Defined Contribution Plan (form 75) — for active/terminated/retired members
      • DRO for Health Care Savings Program (form 78) — for active/terminated/retired participants
      • DRO for 457 Program (form 73) — for active/terminated/retired members
    2. Send us a copy of your proposed order for review and pre-approval prior to its entry with the court (optional).
    3. Send us a complete copy of your entered Judgment of Divorce.
    4. Send us a copy of any entered domestic relations order(s) (if an assignment is ordered).
    5.  Review your beneficiaries. Any designation or status of your former spouse as your beneficiary terminates upon entry of the judgment of divorce unless otherwise required by the judgment of divorce or other order of the court that meets the requirements of applicable law. (Nothing prevents you from designating a former spouse as a beneficiary subsequent to the divorce.)

For more information about divorce and its impact on your retirement account, please refer to your retirement plan handbook or call our Service Center. Help figuring out what program you have.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this Web site is being made available as a public service. The information is not intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice, or to replace official versions of that information. Benefit Estimates or Service Credit Purchase estimates requested through this Web site are not official descriptions of any benefits, and do not represent a promise by MERS to provide any benefit(s) to any person(s). No one can detrimentally rely upon the information provided in, or requested through this Web site. MERS reserves the right to correct any errors, and presents this information without warranties, express or implied, regarding the information's accuracy, timeliness or completeness. If you believe the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, or incomplete, or if you have problems accessing or reading the information, please call MERS at 800.767.MERS (6377).