Divorce and Retirement

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Per Codes of Federal Regulations and OPM RI 84-1 instructions, the Court Orders should not be accepted if Net Annuity is not applied. OPM is telling me they will process any court order regardless if Net Annuity is included or not. They currently dividing 50% of my Gross annuity between me and my former spouse. What are my options?

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Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 2)
Asked on December 12, 2019 12:34 am
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OPM will honor COAPs that divide the annuity based upon the Net Annuity, Gross Annuity or Self-Only Annuity – whatever the order states. maybe you are confused because OPM will not honor an order than pays out more than the Net Annuity?

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Answered on December 13, 2019 4:19 pm
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Thank you for your reply.
I am not confused.
Email from an OPM Paralegal Specialist:
“Based on the court order, we are ordered to withhold what the order states. If the amount is more than your net, then you would have to have the order amended to order OPM to pay your former spouse from the net amount vice the gross annuity. This is what I was told from my Senior Specialist in reference to your case.”
My divorce/court order does not specify “Net Annuity, Gross Annuity or Self-Only Annuity” in the document.
5 CFR 838.211 – Amounts subject to court orders, 3(b) it states: (b) Payment to a former spouse under a court order may not exceed the net annuity.
5 CFR 838.103 – Definition of Net Annuity.
RI 84-1 OPM Booklet – “Court-Ordered Benefits for Former Spouses,” Page 4, 2nd paragraph.
The Booklet states “The spouse’s share must be stated as a fixed amount, a percentage or a fraction of the annuity, or by a formula whose value is readily apparent from the face of the order and information in our files. The amount cannot exceed the amount payable to the retiree after deductions for taxes and insurance.”
RI 84-1 Page 10. OPM authorizes payments in accordance with clear, specific, and express provisions of court orders acceptable for processing under the applicable provisions of law and regulation.
OPM is not following Federal Code or their own guidelines. At the least the Divorce/Court, per CFRs and RI-84-1, should not have been accepted for processing.
What are my options, if any?
Thank you.

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Answered on December 17, 2019 3:31 pm
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When the order does not state Net, Gross or Self-Only, OPM uses the Gross under regulations in the CFR, at 5 CFR 838.306(b). If you want anything different, you will need to have the court order amended.
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Answered on December 17, 2019 11:13 pm
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I guess I was confused. CFR 838.211, CFR 838.103, and RI 84-1 OPM Booklet – “Court-Ordered Benefits for Former Spouses do not apply when it relates to Net Annuity and how OPM follows regulations and guidelines. No need to respond.

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Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 2)
Answered on December 18, 2019 12:05 pm