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(1) The board will make available to the public a checklist of required and optional family law order (FLO) characteristics and representative model forms approved for inclusion in a proposed FLO.

(2) A FLO may order the splitting and payment of the sums payable to specific participants from a retirement system. The term participant will be construed to include' all possible appropriate participants unless specifically defined in the FLO. If specific participants are not named, retirement benefits or amounts payable to another upon the death of any and all participants will be allocated according to the terms of the FLO. Specific designations of participant(s) in a FLO may include:

(a) An individual "member" (active, inactive or retired) .

(b) "Primary" and/or designated beneficiary(ies) " eligible to receive lump sum payment(s) upon the death of an active or inactive member of the system and "designated beneficiary" designated at the time of retirement to receive continuing retirement benefits upon the death of the retired member.

(3) Payments under a FLO must be the same type and form as, and for no greater amount or duration than, those available to any participant from the account being assigned. A benefit, option or payment available for another at the discretion of the participant may be subject to a FLO. Only the participant can be required to designate a specific option or request a refund.

(For example, if a participant may choose a beneficiary, the FLO may require the participant to name a specific alternate payee as a beneficiary or require that a portion of the named beneficiary's payment be paid to the alternate payee.)

(4) If benefits are currently payable to the participant(s) , the FLO may specify a future effective date. However, no FLO may provide for payments to an alternate payee prior to the date on which the participant first becomes eligible for payment from the retirement system.

(5) Unless otherwise specified in the FLO, payments to an alternate payee will continue only until benefits cease to be paid to any participant. Payments to an alternate payee may be further limited in the FLO to:

(a) the life of the participant whose payment rights are being transferred,

(b) a specified maximum time,

(c) the life of the alternate payee, or

(d) the life of a designated participant.

(6) Two basic types of payment distributions are allowed to alternate payees: "defined sum" and "proportionate payments."

(a) A "defined sum" must designate a specific total dollar amount to be paid to the alternate payee in the form of a fixed dollar amount payable for a designated maximum number of months. (For example: "A sum of $9,000 to be paid at a rate of $150 per month for 60 monthly payments or until benefits cease, whichever comes first".) If the fixed monthly payment designated is more than the total monthly benefit or payment to the participant, the lesser amount will be paid for the designated number of months, or until any benefits cease. The defined sum, the designated monthly dollar amount, and the designated number of months will not be increased by subsequent conditions or events.

(b) "Proportionate payments" may be ordered by designating either a fixed percentage of benefits payable or a formula describing how the percentage must be calculated at the time payments begin. The fixed percentage must indicate a specific percentage of each payment to be paid to the alternate payee, either as a percentage or as a fraction for which the numerator and denominator are indicated. (For example: "50% of any withdrawal of member contributions.") A formula calculating a fixed percentage may use either years or dollar amounts to establish a proportionate benefit for an alternate payee. (For example: "a fixed percentage of benefits which is equal to 50% of 7 years divided by the total number of years of service used to calculate the participant's benefit" or "a fixed percentage of benefits which is described by dividing $150 per month by the total monthly benefit amount payable for service retirement when participant's payments begin".) All proportionate payments to the alternate payee will include the same proportion of any guaranteed annual benefit allowance, cost of living allowance, post-retirement adjustment or similar increase payable to the participant in any month during which the FLO is in effect.

History: Sec. 19-20-201 MCA; IMP, Sec. 19-20-305 MCA; NEW, 1993 MAR p. 2404, Eff. 10/15/93.

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