Is my LAGERS monthly benefit considered a marital asset that can be divided if I get divorced?
Currently, there is no state statute that dictates your benefit must be considered an asset subject to divorce negotiations. That determination is made by the family court in each case.
Can my ex-spouse receive a monthly benefit directly from LAGERS?
No. Under applicable law, including Missouri State Statute RSMo 70.695 and 434.301, a LAGERS accrued benefit is not subject to execution, garnishment, attachment, bankruptcy, or other process of law. This means that LAGERS is also not subject to Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO’s). If family court determines your LAGERS benefit is divisible as a marital asset, it is solely your responsibility to forward the portion determined by the family court to your former spouse. The former spouse cannot begin receiving his or her portion until you begin to draw your monthly benefit. In any case, LAGERS will only pay to you. The only exception to this is if you are subject to child support deductions as ordered by a Court.
Will my ex-spouse receive surviving spouse benefits if I happen to pass way before retiring?
If you, as an active member of LAGERS, are divorced, your ex-spouse is no longer considered a “surviving spouse” under Section 70.661, and the ex-spouse is not eligible for surviving spouse benefits. Additionally, if, prior to the divorce, you designate your spouse as the beneficiary to receive any remaining accumulated contributions in your LAGERS account, the beneficiary designation will be automatically revoked by operation of Section 461.051 R.S.Mo. However, following the divorce, an ex-spouse, or any other person, may be designated as the beneficiary to receive any remaining accumulated contributions in your LAGERS account under Section 70.661.5.
How is the value of my LAGERS benefit determined?
LAGERS benefits are not based on an account balance, rather, they are based on your earned wages and the time you have worked for a LAGERS member employer. The amount the ex-spouse is eligible to receive is determined by family court and could be a dollar amount, percentage, or some other figure. LAGERS can provide a benefit estimate* and / or an annual benefit statement* upon request to assist in calculating the value of your monthly benefit, but LAGERS does not provide present value calculations.
*A benefit estimate or benefit statement are only available for LAGERS members or via appropriate Court order.
What happens if I elect a spousal retirement payout option, and then I get a divorce?
When you elect a payout option for retirement, the payout option that is selected is irrevocable and cannot be changed. The spouse who is elected under Options A or B will always remain the beneficiary even if a divorce occurs. If you retire, elect Option A or B, divorce, and re-marry, your previous spouse will still be the beneficiary under Option A or B.
What happens if I elect Option C and get divorced?
Unlike Option A or B, Option C allows you (the retiree) to change the beneficiary throughout retirement.
What if my divorce is filed in a different state?
LAGERS benefits are created by Missouri law. Accordingly, even if you live in another state, or the divorce action is filed in another state, Missouri law will control how LAGERS benefits may be treated in the divorce action.
Do I need to submit any forms to LAGERS after the divorce is final?
LAGERS does not require that you submit any forms.
Do I need to update my beneficiaries after the divorce is final?
It is not a requirement to update your beneficiaries, but it is strongly recommended that you do. You can change your beneficiaries at any time by downloading the “Change of Beneficiary” form from the LAGERS website and sending it to the LAGERS office – Fax 573-636-9671 or mail 701 W. Main St. Jefferson City, MO 65102 or by using the myLAGERS web portal.
If you have further questions, please contact Benefits Officer, Tammy Burlbaw Phone: 573-632-6363 or Toll Free: 1-800-447-4334 Ext: 6363
The contents of this page are not intended to and should not be considered legal advice. This information does not amend or overrule any applicable statute or administrative rule. In the event of conflict, the applicable statute or administrative rule will prevail. If you have questions regarding your specific legal situation, please contact your personal legal counsel.