If you are thinking about dissolving your marriage or civil union, you should know how your IMRF benefits might be affected.
Surviving Spouse Benefits Persist After Divorce
If you are married for at least a year before you retire and are still married to this spouse on the effective date of your pension, this spouse will remain the beneficiary of your IMRF surviving spouse benefits for life even if you divorce after you retire.
If you get divorced before you retire, your former spouse will not be eligible for IMRF surviving spouse benefits.
IMRF Requires a QILDRO to Pay Benefits
IMRF must have a Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order (QILDRO) to pay benefits to a former spouse. QILDROs are different from, and should not be confused with, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, or QDROs. State law does not allow public retirement systems like IMRF to honor QDROs.
Even with a valid QILDRO on file, IMRF cannot pay a former spouse before you are paid. You must apply for and receive a retirement benefit before we can pay your former spouse. A former spouse will never receive more or different benefits than the IMRF member is eligible to receive.
Talk With Your Attorney
You should ask your personal attorney whether a former spouse is entitled to any of your IMRF benefits. IMRF cannot provide legal advice.
Resources for Attorneys
The IMRF booklet on QILDROs can serve as a valuable resource for attorneys guiding an IMRF member through divorce.