The Fifth Circuit Cloister of Appeals holds that a QDRO is the alone avenue to abandonment of alimony rights aloft divorce. This case complex Decedent-Husband, who was a DuPont agent and actor in its accumulation and advance plan (SIP). Decedent had active a beneficiary-designation anatomy in 1974, anecdotic Wife as the SIP’s sole beneficiary. Decedent and Wife were afar in 1994. In the annulment decree, Wife agreed to be bald of “all right, title, interest, and affirmation in and to … the gain therefrom, and any added rights accompanying to any … retirement plan, alimony plan, or like account affairs absolute by acumen of [decedent’s] employment.” However, no QDRO was anytime submitted to DuPont. Decedent never afflicted or removed the Wife as the SIP beneficiary.
Decedent’s acreage accepted DuPont administer SIP funds to the estate, claiming that Wife’s almsman appellation was invalid beneath the Texas Family Code, which provides that conjugal almsman designations are rendered invalid by a divorce. While the commune cloister captivated that federal law preempted accompaniment law, it begin that a federal accepted law access applied, acceptance abandonment of the benefits.
The cloister of appeals reversed, award that the anti-alienation accouterment of ERISA activated to this plan because it was a alimony plan, appropriate the commune court’s common-law abandonment access as accepting been activated alone to activity allowance plans, to which the anti-alienation accouterment does not apply.Moreover, the cloister alone the estate’s altercation that a “waiver” is not an “alienation” and appropriately does not run afield of the anti-alienation provision. Rather the cloister assured that:
In the marital-dissolution context, the QDRO accoutrement accumulation the sole barring to the anti-alienation provision, they absolved a accompaniment domestic-relations adjustment bent to be a QDRO, beneath the standards set alternating in ERISA… When, as here, ERISA provides a specific apparatus – the QDRO – for acclamation the aishment of a souse’s absorption in plan benefits, but that apparatus is not invoked, there is no base to codify a federal-common-law rule. Requiring DuPont to admit the abandonment in this bearings would battle with ERISA by purporting to actuate rights to pension-plan allowances in a address not accustomed by the QDRO provisions, 29 U.S.C. § 1056(d)(3), and therefore, not acceptable by the anti-alienation provision, 29 U.S.C. § 1056(d)(1).
Kennedy v. Plan Administrator for DuPont Saving and Advance Plan, U.S Cloister of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, August 15, 2007Opinion online (last visited August 24, 2007 bgf)
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