Marriage / Divorce
If you get married after you become a member of SCERS, you will need to update your Beneficiary designation on file with SCERS. To do so, complete and return a Member’s Affidavit form.
Also, you should provide SCERS with a copy of your marriage certificate and your spouse’s birth verification. This information will be required at the time you retire and it may be needed in the event of your death for SCERS to pay benefits to your spouse.
Generally, the benefits earned through your SCERS-covered employment during the time you are married are community property (that is, they belong equally to you and your spouse). In the event you divorce or are legally separated from your spouse, a court order may be made concerning your retirement benefits.
If it is determined by the court or through an agreement between you and your former spouse that SCERS benefits will be divided, two methods of payment are available:
- Separate accounts: This method divides the community property, including your Member Contributions and interest and Service Credit, into two separate accounts, one for you and one for your former spouse. This method is only available for a member prior to retirement who is not yet receiving monthly benefits from SCERS.
- Shared accounts: Under this method, the account itself is not divided. However, the monthly retirement benefit payments you receive from SCERS are divided between you and your former spouse.
If you and/or your spouse file for divorce, you should take the following steps:
- Refer to SCERS’ forms Dissolution of Marriage Guidelines or Dissolution of Marriage After Retirement.
- Contact SCERS as early as possible to discuss and plan for any impact of divorce on your SCERS account and benefits.
- Update your designated beneficiary(ies), if necessary. Complete and return a Member’s Affidavit form.
The process should take place prior to your retirement so that your benefit payments will not be delayed.
Please refer to the Member Handbook for other important information regarding these topics.