If you have divorced at any time while a Participant, your former spouse may have an interest in your benefits. The Plan will comply with a court order that awards some or all of your account to a spouse or child (referred to as an "alternate payee") if the order is a qualified domestic relations order ("QDRO") as defined in ERISA. You or a potential alternate payee (including through an attorney) may request a copy of the Plan's procedures for handling QDROs. You or a potential alternate payee may submit a proposed QDRO to the Plan Office for review before submitting it to a court. If you have entered into a registered domestic partnership under Section 297 of the California Family Code, the Plan will recognize a QDRO issued by a California court pursuant to the California Family Code. The term "spouse" in this section includes a registered domestic partner.
Usually, a QDRO will direct the Plan Office to allocate a portion of the Participant's account to a separate account established for the alternate payee. Benefits will then be paid to the alternate payee as directed by the QDRO. An alternate payee may, however, request a lump sum distribution of his or her account any time after the Plan's approval of the QDRO, provided the distribution complies with the QDRO terms.
When applying for Plan benefits, you must provide the Plan Office with information on any pending or prior divorce, including a final or interlocutory judgment. Note that, if the Board learns of the existence of a potential alternate payee, the Board may delay distribution of some or all of your account until an attempt can be made to provide notice to the potential alternate payee that he or she should consider obtaining and submitting a QDRO as soon as possible.