Divorce and Your Benefits

Violating a DRO

If the Participant elects an option or makes a beneficiary designation in violation of a pre-existing Domestic Relations Order (DRO), separation agreement, or Stipulation of Settlement, Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL) Section 803-a permits the Comptroller, at his or her discretion, to make the required change in accordance with the DRO (upon receipt of a subsequent court order directing the Comptroller to make the change).

Applicability of RSSL Section 803-a relief is a fact-specific determination involving a review of all of the relevant documents of the matrimonial action: the judgment of divorce, stipulation of settlement and/or separation agreement, and all filed DROs.

If RSSL Section 803-a relief is awarded, the Participant’s retirement election will be changed and the retirement benefit will be recalculated. Any overpayments made to the Participant and ex-spouse (if applicable) prior to the recalculation must be recouped by the Retirement System from the Participant, the Participant’s estate and/or the ex-spouse (if applicable).