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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 21, 2020

Title 5Chapter ISubchapter BPart 838Subpart F → §838.622


Title 5: Administrative Personnel
PART 838—COURT ORDERS AFFECTING RETIREMENT BENEFITS
Subpart F—Terminology Used in Court Orders Affecting Employee Annuities or Refunds of Employee Contributions


§838.622   Cost-of-living and salary adjustments.

(a)(1) A court order that awards adjustments to a former spouse's portion of an employee annuity stated in terms such as “cost-of-living adjustments” or “Cola's” occurring after the date of the decree but before the date of phased retirement or retirement provides increases equal to the adjustments described in or effected under 5 U.S.C. 8340 or 8462.

(2) A court order that awards adjustments to a former spouse's portion of an employee annuity stated in terms such as “salary adjustments” or “pay adjustments” occurring after the date of the decree provides increases equal to the adjustments described in or effected under 5 U.S.C. 5303, until the date the individual enters phased retirement status or retires.

(b)(1) Unless the court order directly and unequivocally orders otherwise, a court order that awards a former spouse a portion of an employee annuity either on a percentage basis or by use of a fraction or formula provides that the former spouse's share of the employee annuity will be adjusted to maintain the same percentage or fraction whenever the employee annuity changes as a result of—

(i) Salary adjustments occurring after the date of the decree and before the employee retires; and

(ii) Cost-of-living adjustments occurring after the date of the decree and after the date of the employee's retirement.

(2) A court order that awards a former spouse a specific dollar amount from the employee annuity prevents the former spouse from benefiting from salary and cost-of-living adjustments after the date of the decree, unless the court expressly orders their inclusion.

(c)(1)(i) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, a court order that contains a general instruction to calculate the former spouse's share effective at the time of divorce or separation entitles the former spouse to the benefit of salary adjustments occurring after the specified date to the same extent as the employee.

(ii) To prevent the application of salary adjustments after the date of the divorce or separation, the court order must either state the exact dollar amount of the award to the former spouse or specifically instruct OPM not to apply salary adjustments after the specified date in computing the former spouse's share of the employee annuity.

(2)(i) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, a court order that requires OPM to compute a benefit as of a specified date before the employee's phased retirement or retirement, and specifically instructs OPM not to apply salary adjustments after the specified date in computing the former spouse's share of an employee annuity, provides that the former spouse is entitled to the application of cost-of-living adjustments after the date the individual enters phased retirement status or retires (if the employee does not enter phased retirement status first), in the manner described in §838.241.

(ii) To award cost-of-living adjustments between a specified date and the employee's phased retirement or retirement, the court order must specifically instruct OPM to adjust the former spouse's share of the employee annuity by any cost-of-living adjustments occurring between the specified date and the date the employee enters phased retirement status or retires (if the employee does not enter phased retirement status first).

(iii) To prevent the application of cost-of-living adjustments that occur after the employee annuity begins to accrue to the former spouse's share of the employee annuity, the decree must either state the exact dollar amount of the award to the former spouse or specifically instruct OPM not to apply cost-of-living adjustments occurring after the date the employee enters phased retirement status or retires (if the employee does not enter phased retirement status first).

[57 FR 33574, July 29, 1992, as amended at 79 FR 46627, Aug. 8, 2014]

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