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Divorce

Divorce is a qualifying life event (QLE) in terms of your benefits. Effective the date of the divorce, your spouse will no longer be eligible for benefits through the end of the pay period in which your divorce was finalized. You will need to provide documentation of your divorce to change your benefits within 31 days of the event.

For you:

  • Enroll or change your health, dental and life insurance options for yourself.
  • ​Change your beneficiary designations, including your Texa$aver designation.
  • Reduce or increase your TexFlex Flexible Spending Account.
  • File your name change and update our records (if applicable).
  • Update contact information with your new address.
  • Change your tax deductions.
  • Change your retirement planning needs with the Texa$aver accounts (can be done at any time).

For your ex-spouse:

  • Remove your ex-spouse health, dental and life insurance options.
  • Remove your ex-spouse as a designated beneficiary for life insurance and death benefits..

Note: Your ex-spouse can continue health and dental coverage under COBRA.

For eligible children:

  • Enroll or change health, dental and life insurance options for eligible children (up to age 26).
  • Add your kids as your designated beneficiary.
  • Reduce or increase your TexFlex Flexible Spending Accounts to pay for dependent care expenses (up to age 13).

After divorce

If you get divorced and your spouse is listed as a beneficiary for lump sum death benefits or life insurance, you will need to submit new beneficiary forms. If you don’t name a new beneficiary, then ERS pays your death benefits to an alternate beneficiary or to your estate. ERS cannot honor original life insurance or lump sum death benefits beneficiary designations of a spouse after you get a divorce.

If you still want your former spouse to receive your benefits when you pass away, you can re-designate your ex-spouse as a beneficiary after the divorce. Beneficiary designations of an ex-spouse after a divorce are considered valid, and the ex-spouse will receive the benefits.

If your divorce decree states you must name a specific person as your retirement and/or life insurance beneficiary, you must complete new beneficiary forms. 

ERS Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

A QDRO is a legal order subsequent to a divorce or legal separation that splits and changes ownership of a retirement plan to give the divorced spouse his or her share of the asset. A certified copy of the divorce decree and QDRO must be received for review and approval by ERS' General Counsel. Benefits are payable to an alternate payee only if the order is determined to be a valid ERS QDRO. View common questions about ERS QDROs.

Steps to submit a QDRO to ERS

  1. Use the QDRO model* as a guide. It is not complete as is. The QDRO must be consistent with the signed divorce decree or child support order.
  2. Get the QDRO signed by the judge who is exercising jurisdiction over the divorce or child support lawsuit.
  3. Have the original QDRO certified by the county clerk in the county in which the divorce was granted.
  4. Provide an original, certified copy of both the divorce decree and the QDRO. A faxed copy of the certified divorce degree is acceptable; however, we cannot accept a faxed copy of the certified QDRO.

*This model QDRO was developed by closely following the terms of Chapter 804 of the Texas Government Code, along with special QDRO administration rules developed by the ERS Board of Trustees at Title 34, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 74.