In addition to SDCERS, employees of the City of San Diego may participate in the following retirement plans:
- City of San Diego 401(k)
- City of San Diego Supplemental Pension Savings Plan (also known as the “SPSP”)
- City of San Diego Supplemental Pension Savings Plan Hourly (“SPSP-H”)
- City of San Diego Deferred Compensation Plan
Domestic Relations Orders (DROs) are specific court orders that are required in order to divide any of the above City of San Diego retirement plans due to divorce. Below we will outline some basic information about City of San Diego DROs.
All City of San Diego retirement plans require a joinder be filed and served on the plan before benefits can be distributed pursuant to a QDRO. Joinder is a legal process that names a third-party to the divorce case. Joinder is the first step in obtaining an Order to divide City of San Diego benefits, and a separate joinder must be filed for each retirement plan that is going to be divided. QDRO Helper can assist you with Joinders for a low flat fee – please see our pricing page for more information.
Division of Account / Separate Account
Generally, most divorce documents will specify that the former spouse of the City of San Diego employee) will receive ½ of the community interest in the plan. The community interest is usually defined as what was contributed to the plan from the parties’ date of marriage to their date of separation.
The benefits awarded to the former spouse will be placed into a separate account established by the Plan and in the name of the former spouse upon receipt of a valid DRO. The former spouse can leave the funds in the account with the Plan and begin receiving benefits upon the employee’s earliest retirement date, withdraw the funds (and pay the appropriate taxes and penalties), or roll the funds into another retirement account.
Account Information that Must Appear in the DRO
Domestic Relations Orders (DROs) for the City of San Diego 401(k), Deferred Compensation, and the SPSP and SPSP-H plans must specify the account balance as of the date of marriage and the date of separation. In addition to the above, DROs for the SPSP plan must specify what percentage the employee is currently vested with the plan. This information can be obtained from the Plan Administrator as part of the DRO process.
Gains & Losses
Unless the DRO states otherwise, gains and losses from the date of separation to the date that the separation of account or distribution to the former spouse occurs will be included in the award to the Former Spouse.
If the plan member (the employee) dies before retirement, then the former spouse will be paid his/her share of any and all death benefits payable under the plan. The former spouse’s share will be based on the same division or percentage of benefits awarded to him/her under the DRO.
If you need help with a City of San Diego DRO and/or Joinder, please visit QDRO Helper, or call 619-786-QDRO to get started today!
DISCLAIMER: Any legal information on this blog has been prepared by QDRO Helper for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The material posted on this website is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Note that sending an e-mail to QDRO Helper does not create an attorney-client relationship, and none will be formed unless there is an express agreement between the firm and the individual.