A “Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order” (QILDRO) is a creature of statue by which pension benefits are divided during a divorce proceeding. While the QILDRO must meet certain requirements to be valid, the Pension Fund’s role is largely limited to processing, approval, and implementation of the QILDRO.
The first step in the process is for a QILDRO to be reviewed and approved by counsel for the Pension Fund. Typically, the QILDRO is then entered in Court by the divorcing parties. Usually, the QILDRO awards the “alternate payee” a percentage of the pension benefits of the member. In that case, a QILDRO “Calculation Order” must then be entered by the Court and served on the Pension Fund in order to make payment to the alternate payee. Of course, no payment are made to the alternate payee until the member begins receiving benefits.
Pension Funds should be aware of certain deadlines set by statute. For example, within 45 days of receiving a QILDRO, the fund must provide to the parties specific information enumerated by the statute needed for the completion of the Calculation Order. In addition, for a member who is not retired at the time the QILDRO is entered, the Pension Fund must provide updated calculation order information within 45 days of the member’s subsequent retirement. Pension Funds should keep this requirement in mind when approving retirement benefits.