If you have been or are currently going through a divorce, legal separation or termination of a registered domestic partnership, your current or former spouse or registered domestic partner may have a community property interest in your CalSTRS benefits. You may need to refer to your settlement agreement or contact an attorney for legal advice.
Your court order may address CalSTRS benefits and might specify that your former spouse or registered domestic partner is entitled to a share of each of your accounts and benefits, including death benefits. If you think your former spouse may be entitled to a community property share of your benefits, you can submit your judgment of dissolution and marital settlement agreement to the CalSTRS Community Property office for review. However, CalSTRS cannot provide you with legal advice.
A dissolution of marriage, legal separation or termination of a registered domestic partnership can invalidate the one-time death benefit designation of a former spouse or partner. However, your one-time death benefit recipient designation may remain valid. Be sure to update your designation and ensure your current election wishes are on file with CalSTRS using myCalSTRS or the Recipient Designation form.
If you choose to have your former spouse as your one-time death benefit recipient, and your dissolution or termination occurred after December 31, 2001, you must submit a new Recipient Designation form after your marital termination date and indicate the proper relationship status.
Read the Community Property Guide to learn more about how a divorce or separation may affect your benefits.