Minnesota State, Major City, & Public School Retirement Systems

The Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) is a government plan that is exempt from the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) law of the 1984 Retirement Equity Act.

PERA now pays pension benefits directly to the former spouse of a PERA member, but prior to a law enacted Aug.1, 1987 PERA only made payments to PERA members.

PERA’s Coordinated, Correctional and Police and Fire plans are defined benefit plans, not defined contribution plans, so members earn a retirement or disability benefit based on a formula using the worker’s allowable service credit, highest five years’ average salary and age when the benefit begins.

When a pension is divided, the money in the worker’s account is not transferred into a separate account for the former spouse; the funds remain in the worker’s account. Learn more by reading our FAQs below.


QDRO Minnesota State Retirement System
(Domestic Relations Order - Based on Minnesota State Law)
Consists of Eleven Retirement Plans:
  • Unclassified Plan (UP)
  • General Employees Retirement Plan (GERP)
  • State Patrol Retirement Plan (SPRP)
  • Correctional Employees Retirement Plan (CERP)
  • Health Care Savings Plan (HCSP)
  • Judges Retirement Plan (JRP)
  • Minnesota Deferred Compensation Plan (MNDCP)
  • Legislators Retirement Plan (LRP)
  • Transportation Department Pilots Retirement Plan (TDPRP)
  • Military Affairs Retirement Plan (MARP)
  • Fire Marshals Retirement Plan (FMRP)
….. Start Now Start Now
QDRO State of Minnesota Teachers Retirement Association (TRA)
(Domestic Relations Order - Based on Minnesota State Law)
….. Start Now Start Now


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Must PERA benefits be dividing upon divorce?
A. Depending on the divorce decree, a spouse may be awarded a portion of the pension benefits.
Q. Does PERA offer legal advice about the distribution of a pension?
A. No, PERA does not offer advice, but it will work with an attorney to develop language that can be administered by PERA.
Q. Can the former spouse receive payments from PERA immediately?
A. No. PERA payments are made only when the member spouse ends his employment, or applies for a benefit or refund, and his or her benefits become payable.
Q. After a member ends his or her employment, can the former spouse receive his or her share in a lump sum payment?
A. If the member decides on monthly payments, the former spouse must accept the same payment regime.
Q. Do payments to a former spouse require a court order?
A. PERA requires a certified copy of the marriage dissolution or separate order dividing the PERA pension (or a temporary retraining order preventing the application for a refund) before dividing the monthly pension.
Q. Can the type of pension be changed later?
A. No. A pension benefit cannot be revoked or changed. For example, if a former spouse is named survivor, payments continue to him or her after the member’s death.
Q. Can payments to a former spouse continue after his or her death?
A. Yes. A portion of the pension benefits may be granted as a permanent division of marital property in lieu of liquid assets; therefore, upon the former spouse’s death, payments continue to the estate until the death of the member spouse.
Q. Why can’t PERA make a direct payment to my former spouse if I was divorced in 1986?
A. Direct payments were not permitted until mid-1987. PERA, therefore, does not have the authority to make such payments if the divorce decree was filed before Aug.1, 1987. To make direct payments under this condition, an amended decree must be filed. Otherwise the member spouse must make direct payments to his or her former spouse.
Q. Does PERA accept out-of-state divorce decrees?
A. Yes, but the decree must be filed in Minnesota before PERA can administer it.
Q. Does my former spouse remain my beneficiary if designated before the divorce?
A. No. Under Minnesota law, the marriage dissolution decree revokes the designation of the spouse as beneficiary. If the divorce decree requires that a former spouse be designated a beneficiary, the member must complete a PERA Change Form.
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