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MASSACHUSETTS DECISIONS AND STATUTES RELATING TO QUALIFIED DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDERS

MASSACHUSETTS CASE  LAW PERTAINING TO QDRO’S:

  • Silverman v. Spiro, 438 Mass. 715 (2003):  Massachusetts  Supreme Court upholds trial court decision, which: (a)  awarded attorneys’ fees to husband that he incurred in litigating the issue of back child support ; and (b) directed issuance of qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) so that the legal fees would be paid from the wife’s retirement account.   The Silverman decision exemplifies the trend among courts nationwide to extend the use of qdro’s to collateralize support and other obligations of parties in divorce actions.

  • Sampson v. Sampson, 62 Mass App. Ct. 366 (2004): sets forth options that are available to a trial court with respect to the equitable distribution of pensions benefits accrued during the marriage:
    A judge may assign pension benefits `either as a present assignment of a percentage of the present value of the future pension benefits or as a percentage of the pension benefits attributable to the marriage if and when the benefits are actually received.'" Early v. Early, 413 Mass. 720, 725-726 (1992), quoting from Dewan v. Dewan, 399 Mass. 754, 755 (1987).”


PROVISIONS OF GENERAL LAWS OF MASSACHUSETTS REGARDING QDRO’S:


QDRO’S TO ENFORCE CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATIONS - G.L.c. 119A, § 6A:


.L.c. 119A, § 6A. Pension and retirement plans of obligor; attachment of payments, distributions or benefits; use of accumulated total deductions to pay arrearages.


  Section 6A (a) The IV-D agency is hereby authorized to attach payments, distributions or benefits owing to an obligor under any pension or retirement plan, as provided in this section.


  (b) (1) With respect to any pension or retirement plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, Title 29 of the United States
Code, the IV-D agency may attach payments, distributions or benefits
pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order, as defined in 29 U.S.C. § 1056, issued by a court of competent jurisdiction or by the IV-D agency, as provided in paragraph (2).


  (2) Pursuant to regulation promulgated by the commissioner, the IV-D agency may issue a qualified domestic relations order, as defined in 29 U.S.C. § 1056, without the need for judicial or administrative hearing; provided, however, that the IV-D agency shall, notify the obligor of the issuance of such qualified domestic relations order and of the procedures to follow under section 17 if the obligor wishes to contest such issuance on the grounds that the withholding under the
qualified domestic relations order or the amount withheld is improper due to mistake of fact.


  (c) With respect to all other pension or retirement plans, the IV-D agency may attach payments, distributions or benefits or execute an income withholding order under the procedures set out in sections 6 and 12, without obtaining or issuing a qualified domestic relations order as defined in 29 U.S.C. § 1056.
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