There are many issues that need to be considered during the process of getting a divorce. The following checklist may be of help to simplify the necessary steps you need to take in regard to your benefit plans.
Items regarding the Health Plans apply only to participants in the Southern California IBEW-NECA Health Plans. However, if you participate in another electrician health plan, it is likely that similar considerations will apply.
- The DB and DC Pension Plans are mandated by law to have a procedure by which the two parties to a divorce may determine and allocate the participant's pension benefit. The legal name for the orders which must be approved and filed with both the DB and DC Pension Plans and the court is the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO, pronounced kwadro). Separate orders must be filed with each Plan.
- The attorney who will draft the QDRO will probably wish to obtain a copy of the summary plan description and the Plan Documents for both DB and DC Plans. You may contact the Administrative Office to request these documents.
- Should neither the Participant nor the former spouse notify the Administrative Office within sixty (60) days of the issuance of the Judgment or termination of marital status, the Participant, former spouse and the spouse's dependents who are no longer the Participant's dependents under the Plan are penalized. The Participant's Hours Bank Reserve shall be charged 100 hours times the number of months thereafter until notice is received. The former spouse and lawful dependents who are no longer your dependents under the Plan lose all COBRA rights (see Section 17.1, subpart D). Insurance companies and/or HMO providers may also seek legal damages for the failure to provide prompt notification and the Fund, through the Board of Trustees, shall hold the individual Participant liable for any damages incurred and pursue legal relief against the Participant.
- Upon divorce, your wife automatically ceases being your beneficiary for life insurance under the Active Plan. However, if you do not change your beneficiary designation for the DB and DC Pension Plans, your former spouse could remain your beneficiary of those Plans. You will want to review your designation of beneficiary for both DB and DC Pension Plans as well as for the Life Insurance (Active) and Death (Retiree) benefit in the event of divorce.
Financial planners recommend that persons undergoing a divorce should review and update a number of personal plans and documents. Here is a checklist of some items which you may need to update, revise, or consider: