Q & A Session: Modifying Beneficiary of Survivor Benefit



I was divorced in 1995 after my retirement from the U.S. Customs Service and ordered to leave my ex-spouse as beneficiary of my survivor benefits but that the court would retain jurisdiction to revisit after my remarriage. My ex has remarried, but I do not know when. I have remarried and I am seeking a way in which I may make my current spouse beneficiary to the survivor benefits. Is the original order valid with OPM? If so, how many I seek modification allowing me to choose my beneficiary?


If the original order has been approved by OPM following the issuance of the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), it is presumptively still valid.  In order to select your current spouse as a beneficiary for your survivor benefits, you will have to modify your QDRO with the court that issued the original order.

This response is written by Conor D. Dirks, associate attorney of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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