The Railroad Retirement Act (RRA) replaced the Social Security Act for establishing the kinds of benefits railroad workers earn during their careers in the field. The plans which the employees participate are administered by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) which is an independent entity from the rest of the Executive Branch of government. The RRB only administers the funds of the employees of railway companies not the executives who own the railway companies.
When such railroad workers seek a divorce or separation from their spouse or decide to make plans to take care of their dependents, they can utilize an order, known as a Partition Order, which bears similarity to a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Partition Orders can be submitted to the RRB for approval. The order must comply with all RRB regulations. The orders can be used to distribute annuity payments to ex-spouses and children particularly when the children reach a certain age. It must be noted that railway annuity benefits have two components. As one of these, known as Tier 1 benefits, constitute non-divisible annuity assets, and they cannot be distributed by such orders.
A partition order which authorizes division of benefits must include the following:
- The Final Divorce Decree or other Order of a Court
- Citations of necessary statutory or regulatory authority providing a basis for partition
- Statement of how the Assets are to be specifically divided
- Language imposing the obligation to make the stated distributions on the RRB
- Statement of Award showing how the division is being made
A certified copy of the Partition Order must be sent to the RRB’s General Counsel’s office in Chicago, Illinois. Former spouses must sign an Agreement of Spouse or Former Spouse. While there are several other specific requirements related to the successful completion of a Partition Order, the outline shown above includes the general items necessary to prepare such an order.
The Wilson Law Firm, a Professional Corporation, at 1120 Iron Point Rd Suite 100, Folsom, CA 95630 represents parties involved in domestic relations disputes. Call The Wilson Law Firm, a Professional Corporation at the firm’s office at: 916-608-8891 to set up an appointment to speak with Attorney Dennis Wilson or visit its website at http://www.wilsonlawfirmca.com /.