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Divorce and Your Benefits

Getting Started…

  1. What is a Domestic Relations Order?
  2. Can a Participant and his or her spouse agree on a division of the Participant’s benefit entitlements without being divorced?
  3. How do I file a Domestic Relations Order (DRO) against the New York State Deferred Compensation Plan?
  4. How do I get more information about Domestic Relations Order (DRO) benefits?
  5. How do I contact you if I need more information?
  6. Is there a specific form for the Domestic Relations Order (DRO)?
  7. My ex-spouse and I are NOT going to divide our pension benefits as part of our divorce. Do we need to sign a waiver or file divorce papers with the Retirement System?
  8. I recently filed for divorce. Automatic Orders were issued that prohibit the Participant from changing beneficiaries or applying for retirement (etc). Should I file a copy with New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) to protect my interests?
  1. What is a Domestic Relations Order?

    A Domestic Relations Order (DRO) is a court order that provides an ex-spouse of a Participant with a share of the Participant’s pension benefit upon retirement. It is not the same as a judgment of divorce or separation agreement. It is a separate court document which, once accepted by the Retirement System, is legally binding on the Retirement System. A DRO may also require a Participant to designate the ex-spouse as a beneficiary for a pre-retirement death benefit or retirement option.

  2. Can a Participant and his or her spouse agree on a division of the Participant’s benefit entitlements without being divorced?

    No. Current law provides for a division of a Participant’s benefit only when a marriage has been terminated and the Retirement System has received a signed Domestic Relations Order (DRO), directing the Retirement System to pay a share of the Participant’s benefits to his or her ex-spouse. In addition, the Participant must provide the Retirement System with a certified copy of the judgement of divorce.

  3. How do I file a Domestic Relations Order (DRO) against New York State Deferred Compensation Plan?

    The New York State Retirement System does not administer the Deferred Compensation Plan. Please forward your DROs and any questions concerning deferred compensation to:

    N.Y.S. Deferred Compensation Plan

    5900 Parkwood Place

    Dublin, Ohio 43016.

    Deferred Compensation Help Line Phone Number: 1-800-422-8463.

  4. How do I get more information about Domestic Relations Order (DRO) benefits?

    For more information about DRO benefits, refer to our Divorce, Equitable Distribution & Your Benefits page.

  5. How do I contact you if I need more information?

    • Email us;
    • Contact our Call Center toll-free at 1-866-805-0990, or 518-474-7736 if you live in the Albany, New York area;
    • Fax us at 518-474-7794; or
    • Write to us at:

      Hearing Administration and Matrimonial Bureau

      New York State and Local Retirement System

      110 State Street, Mail Drop 7-9a

      Albany, NY 12244-0001

  6. Is there a specific form for the Domestic Relations Order (DRO)?

    New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) provides a fillable DRO template that may be used for the majority of cases. DROs that are prepared using this template will be given priority review. All DROs are subject to review and acceptance by NYSLRS. The template is not required, but will result in faster review. If you draft a customized DRO, NYSLRS’ DRO guidelines should be strictly followed.

  7. My ex-spouse and I are NOT going to divide our pension benefits as part of our divorce. Do we need to sign a waiver or file divorce papers with the Retirement System?

    No. The Retirement System does not require a waiver or copies of divorce papers when the pension is not divided as a result of divorce. It is important that you review your beneficiary designations following divorce to make sure the designations comply with the terms of your divorce and reflect your intentions.

  8. I recently filed for divorce. Automatic Orders were issued that prohibit the Participant from changing beneficiaries or applying for retirement (etc). Should I file a copy with New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) to protect my interests.

    Automatic Orders place no restrictions or limitations on NYSLRS and cannot be used to restrain NYSLRS and its personnel from the performance of any statutory duties. If NYSLRS is served with a restraining order to prevent the processing of any application(s) filed by our Participant during the pendency of this action, the restraining order must be directed to NYSLRS and specifically set forth any action(s) NYSLRS is prohibited from taking.