JOINDER OF A PENSION PLAN

Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento Family Law Facilitator’s Office JOINDER OF A PENSION PLAN Purpose of Packet This packet is used wh...
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Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento Family Law Facilitator’s Office

JOINDER OF A PENSION PLAN Purpose of Packet This packet is used when a party to a dissolution or legal separation case has a retirement plan through their employer and the opposing party wishes to join the plan into the case. Joining the plan provides notice that a dissolution or legal separation has been filed and also ensures that the non-employee spouse’s interest is not distributed before its proper division is decided by the court. Each eligible benefit plan must be joined separately to the case.

Do I Need to Join the Benefit Plan? Joinder applies to both private and public employee benefit plans. However, there are distinctions between certain plans that must be joined and others for which joinder is not necessary or another procees is used instead. Before you begin, you are strongly encouraged to speak to an attorney about property and retirement interests you may have. The following are basic guidelines. Joinder is required for some state and county retirement plans. For example, the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) must be joined, while it is not necessary for Public Employees Retirement Plan (PERS). Please consult an attorney for specific information. For Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plans, under federal law, the court’s order is enforceable against the plan so long as it satisfies federal Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) requirements. Should you have questions, please obtain the assistance of an attorney. The Family Law Facilitator’s Office in the Self-Help Center has a referral list of attorneys in this area of practice. Getting Started The following is a list of the forms you will need. You will need a set of forms for each employee benefit plan you would like to join. ¾ Summons (Joinder), form FL-375 ¾ Request for Joinder of Employee Benefit Plan and Order, form FL-372 ¾ Pleading on Joinder – Employee Benefit Plan, form FL-370

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Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento Family Law Facilitator’s Office

Other forms needed for this process are: ¾ Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt, form FL-117 ¾ Notice of Appearance and Response of Employee Benefit Plan, form FL-374 ¾ Two (2) Proof of Service By Mail, form FL-335 Completing the Summons (Joinder), form FL-375 The Section at the top of the form is called the “caption” and must be completed before forms can be filed. It is helpful if you use middle initials or full middle name and suffix, e.g., Jr., II, or III when completing the forms. In the top left box of the caption, print your full name, full mailing address, telephone number with area code and email address. In the space where it says "ATTORNEY FOR" print the words “In Pro Per.” This means that you are acting as your own attorney in this case. In the second box down on the left side of the caption, the Court’s name and address may already appear. If not, please print the following information starting where it says “Superior Court of California, County of”: Sacramento 3341 Power Inn Road, Room 100 Sacramento, California 95826 Family Relations Courthouse In the third box down on the left side of the caption, print the full name of the party that opened/filed the case next to the word “Petitioner” and the name of the other party (or person that was originally served) next to “Respondent.” In the fourth box down on the left side of the caption, print the name of the benefit plan next to “Claimant.” In the second box down on the right side of the caption, print the case number. Item 1: Leave this section blank. It does not apply to this type of filing. Item 2: Check the box marked, “To The Claimant Employee Benefit Plan.” In the blank space below, print the name of the employee benefit plan. Do not fill in the “Dated” or “Clerk, By” sections beneath item 2. This must be left blank for the court clerk to complete. Item 3: Check box 3c, “On behalf of.” In the area marked “Under”, check the box for “FC 2062 (Employee Benefit Plan)”. Leave the back side of the Summons blank. Your process server must fill in the form once service has been completed.

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Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento Family Law Facilitator’s Office

Completing the Request for Joinder of Employee Benefit Plan and Order, form FL-372 Complete the caption section as you did for the previous form. Refer to the instructions above. Item 1: Fill in the name of the employee benefit plan. Remember, if there is more than one plan involved, you must complete the joinder process for each eligible plan. Fill in the date that you signed the form. Place your signature on the line to the right of the date. Below the signature line, check the box indicating whether you are the Petitioner or Respondent to the case. Below the boxes, print your name. Leave the remainder of the form blank. The Clerk of Court will complete the form at the time you file it. Completing the Pleading on Joinder – Employee Benefit Plan, form FL-370 Complete the caption section as you did for the previous form. Refer to the instructions above. Item 1: Fill in the name of the employee covered under the benefit plan. Fill in the name of his/her employer. If you know the name of the labor union involved, check box c. and fill in the name of the union. If you know the employee’s identification number, check box d. and fill in the information. If you have other information to help identify the plan or employee involved, add this information in the space marked “Other”. Item 2: If the Petitioner is represented by an attorney, check box a. and fill in the attorney’s name, address and phone number. If the Petitioner is not represented, check box b. and fill in the requested information. Item 3: If the Respondent is represented by an attorney, check box a. and fill in the attorney’s name, address and phone number. If the Respondent is not represented, fill in the requested information under section b. Back side: Across the top of the page, complete the short caption by filling in the Petitioner and Respondent’s names on the left and the case number to the right. Item 4: Check the Petition for Dissolution/Legal Separation that was filed in your case. This is the original paperwork that began your legal proceeding. Fill in the Date of Marriage and Date of Separation that was listed in the Petition. Now, check the Response that was filed in the case. If the Response lists the same Date of Marriage and Date of Separation, check the box before “and response states”. If no response has been filed, leave this box unchecked.

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Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento Family Law Facilitator’s Office

Item 5: If the Response states different information for Date of Marriage and Date of Separation, check the box and fill in the information as listed on the Response. If no Response has been filed, or if it lists the same dates as on the Petition, leave this item blank. Item 6: If a judgment has not yet been entered in your case, check box a. If a judgment has already been entered, check box b. and enter the date of the judgment. If the judgment disposes of each spouse’s interest in the employee benefit plan, check box (1). If the judgment did not dispose of each spouse’s interest in the employee benefit plan, check box (2). Item 7: Read each box carefully. Check any or all the boxes that apply to the relief you are seeking from the court. You may also check box e. for other relief you are requesting, if not contained in the previous selections. Write in the specific relief in the space below box e. Item 7f requests the court to grant other orders as appropriate and is automatically indicated on the form. Date, sign and print your name on the bottom of the form. Check the box below your signature to indicate if you are the Petitioner or Respondent. Filing Your Joinder 1.

Make Copies Once you have completed the above forms, make three copies of each of the documents. Group each form together with the original on top (i.e. the Summons with its copies, the Request for Joinder with its copies, etc.).

2.

File Original plus copies in Room 100. Bring the original plus copies to the filing unit in Room 100. The clerk will endorse the documents. The clerk will return the original plus the three copies of your Summons. The original summons will have the Sacramento Superior Court seal affixed in red ink and an original signature of the court clerk. The clerk will retain the original of the remaining two documents, and return the copies to you.

Completing the Notice of Acknowledgment and Receipt, form FL-117 Complete the caption section as you did for the previous forms. Refer to the instructions above. Below the caption box, fill in the name of the employee benefit plan after the words, “To (name of individual being served).” You must have the forms served upon your spouse and the Employee Benefit plan. Have another adult, who is not a party to the case serve the papers for you. Once you have

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Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento Family Law Facilitator’s Office

chosen your process server, you must have them complete the following items on the form: Date of Mailing: Your server must fill in the date that the packet was mailed to the benefit plan. This should be the actual date of mailing. Below the date of mailing, the process server must fill in his/her name and sign on the line to the right. Item e. and Item 3(7): Check the box next to e and box (7) Other. Specify the documents served by writing the names of the following forms: “Summons (Joinder), Request for Joinder, Pleading on Joinder, Notice of Appearance & Response (2 copies), Proof of Service by Mail.” The bottom of this form is left blank. The benefit plan may choose to date, print and sign to acknowledge they have received your paperwork. Make two copies of the Notice and Acknowledgment. Assembling Your Packets Once you have filed your documents, and you and your server have prepared the Notice of Acknowledgment and Receipt, assemble them into two packets as follows:

Packet 1:

This packet will be served upon the benefit plan. Summons, form FL-375 (do not send the original with the red seal and the original signature of the court clerk) Request for Joinder, form FL-372 Pleading on Joinder, form FL-370 Two copies of the Notice and Acknowledgement of Receipt, form FL-117 Notice of Appearance and Response of Employee Benefit Plan (blank), form FL-374 Proof of Service by Mail (blank), form FL-335 One business-sized (No. 10) envelope with proper postage, addressed to your process server (it cannot be addressed to you). This is for the benefit plan to return a copy of the Notice of Acknowledgment.

Once the above packet is assembled, make one copy of this packet for your records.

Packet 2:

This packet will be served upon your spouse. Summons, form FL-375 Request for Joinder, form FL-372 Pleading on Joinder, form FL-370

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Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento Family Law Facilitator’s Office

Serving the Joinder Packets Once you have filed your forms and assembled your packets, you must have the forms served upon your spouse and the Employee Benefit plan. This should be done by first class mail. If you do not know the benefit plan’s trustee, administrator, or agent for service of process, you may request that your spouse provide this information to you. The law requires that within 30 days of written request, the employee spouse must furnish the name of each plan covering him/her, as well as the name, title, address and telephone number for the plan’s trustee, administrator, or agent for service of process. Once you have the proper information, your server may send Packet 1 to the benefit plan by first class mail. Then, have your process server wait until he/she receives the signed Notice of Acknowledgment of Receipt back from the benefit plan. At that point, your server must complete the Proof of Service of Summons (instructions below). Packet 2 must be served upon your spouse. Have your process server place Packet 2 in the mail and complete the Proof of Service by Mail, form FL-335. Fill in the caption section, referring to the above instructions. The remainder of the form is completed by your process server. Instructions appear on the back side of the form. Make one copy of the Proof of Service by Mail once it has been completed. Completing Proof of Service of Summons (back side of the original FL-375) Once your process server has received the Notice of Acknowledgment and Receipt back in the mail, he/she must complete the Proof of Service of Summons. This is on the back side of the original summons (with the red Superior Court Seal and/or the court clerk’s original signature) that was endorsed by the court. On the back side of the Summons form, check the box under Item 1a. Item 1b: Fill in the name of the benefit plan. Item 1c: Check the box next to (2). Fill in the name and title of the trustee, administrator or agent for service of process. Item 1e: Check the box and fill in the date of mailing and the place (city) from where the packet was mailed. Item 2d: Check the box. Note, you must attach the signed copy of the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt that was returned from the benefit plan.

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Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento Family Law Facilitator’s Office

Item 3: Check box 3c, “On behalf of”. In the area marked “Under”, check the box for “FC 2062 (Employee Benefit Plan).” Item 5: If there was a fee charged for service of process, print the amount here. Item 6: Check the box that applies, either a, b, c, or d. To the right under e., print the name, address and telephone number of the process server. On the bottom left, the process server must fill in the date, place (city) where this form was signed, and sign the form. Make one copy of the Summons (both sides) and one copy of the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt. Staple the original Notice to the original Summons. Staple your remaining copy of the Summons and Notice to each other. Filing your Proof of Service of Summons and Proof of Service by Mail Bring your original Summons (with Notice attached) and the copies, as well as the Proof of Service by Mail (for Packet 2 that went to your spouse), plus one copy to the Family Law Filing counter in Room 100. The Clerk will stamp and keep the original and return the copies to you. Response of the Benefit Plan Within 30 days of signing the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt, form FL-117, the plan may file the Notice of Appearance and Response, form FL-374. This form will be filed with the court and you will receive a copy in the mail. By signing this form, the benefit plan is making an appearance and adding the plan as a claimant to your case. If you do not receive a Notice of Appearance and Response form in the mail, you may take a default against the plan. For assistance with this process, please consult an attorney. After the Benefit Plan Has Been Joined to the Case These instructions have addressed the first step of joining an employee benefit plan to your family law case. There are additional steps to the process. It will be necessary to obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to divide the pension benefits. Contact a private attorney for assistance in preparing your QDRO.

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