Life Event Changes

There are certain life events, such as marriage, divorce, dissolution of domestic partnership, disability, birth, or adoption, which can affect your benefits under the Clergy Pension Plan and other benefit plans. It is important that you notify our Client Services group as soon as possible whenever there is a change in your family status. This will help to ensure your benefits are provided as you intend, especially in the event of your death.

What Happens If You

...are on maternity leave?

The Short-Term Disability Plan provides income replacement benefits to assist employers with expenses incurred while an Active participant is on maternity leave after giving birth.

There is no elimination period requirement for childbirth, although the 14-day elimination period, described in the Short-Term Disability Benefits section, does apply prior to the birth of a child (for example, if there is a pregnancy complication).

...are on paternity leave?

There are no short-term disability benefits for clergy who are new fathers. If you decide to take unpaid leave in order to help care for your newborn, you may continue to earn Credited Service under the Clergy Pension Plan and maintain your eligibility for benefits by personally paying Assessments. See Cost of Coverage for more information about personal Assessments.

...are between cures?

If you are between cures or otherwise experience a break in service, you can personally pay Assessments for up to 24 months in order to maintain your eligibility for benefits and continue to earn Credited Service. See Cost of Coverage for more information about personal Assessments.

...get married within one year before retirement?

If you are thinking of retiring and have recently married, your retirement date could affect your spouse’s eligibility for benefits, including the fully subsidized 50% survivor benefit and the Medicare Supplement Health Plan Subsidy.

...get married after retirement?

If you marry after retirement, your new spouse is not a beneficiary of the Clergy Pension Plan and is therefore not eligible for a survivor benefit. (If you elected a marriage after retirement option before January 1, 2018, however, the spouse whom you designated will receive a survivor benefit following your death.)

You may not change the form of payment that you elected at retirement under any circumstances; therefore, whomever you designated as your beneficiary at that time, if you did so, will receive the Clergy Pension Plan’s survivor benefit that you elected in the event of your death.

If your beneficiary predeceases you and you marry after retirement, you cannot substitute your new spouse as the beneficiary, even though the person whom you designated at retirement is no longer living. In this case, no survivor benefit is payable following your death.

A spouse whom you marry after retirement is also not eligible for the Medicare Supplement Health Plan Subsidy.

(Different rules apply if you marry after retirement and return to active ministry. Contact our Client Services group for more information.) 

...divorce before retirement?

If you divorce before retiring, the court that has jurisdiction over the dissolution of your marriage may require that your pension be divided with your former spouse because it constitutes marital property. The division of your pension may be determined by a divorce decree or marital property settlement agreement. In either case, if your former spouse is entitled to a share of your pension, and you would like CPF to pay that share directly to your former spouse, then you and your former spouse must file a qualified domestic relations order with the appropriate court. The qualified domestic relations order also must be approved by CPF. Your divorce decree and/or marital property settlement agreement generally will not act as the qualified domestic relations order because a qualified domestic relations order must meet certain specific requirements before CPF will approve and implement it.

In the event of your divorce, you should also consider whether to update your beneficiary designations for the preretirement survivor benefit and the life insurance benefit, if necessary.

...divorce after retirement?

If you divorce after retiring, the person whom you designated as your beneficiary (if any) remains eligible for the survivor benefit elected at retirement. This cannot be changed.

You may enter into a qualified domestic relations order in order to divide your pension with your former spouse, as noted above.

In the event of your divorce, you should also consider whether to update your beneficiary designation for the life insurance benefit, if necessary.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

A QDRO is a special court order that grants someone (usually a former spouse) a right to receive all or a portion of the retirement benefits that a participant has earned under an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

CPF has developed two different types of model QDROs that you may use as a template when preparing your own. (The type that you use will depend on your own personal situation.) Using a model can greatly speed approval of the QDRO by CPF, saving you both time and legal fees. We strongly recommend that you submit a draft QDRO to CPF for pre-approval before signing it and filing it with the appropriate court. If we receive an order that has been executed by both you and your former spouse (or your attorneys) or an order that has been certified by a court, CPF will suspend any pension payments until we either approve the order or the order is withdrawn.

Once a QDRO has been approved by CPF, you will not have to pay income taxes on any amounts paid from the Clergy Pension Plan to your former spouse in accordance with the terms of the QDRO.

Unless a QDRO has been approved, CPF will not pay any portion of your pension to your former spouse. However, even if you do not have an approved QDRO, you may still be legally obligated to pay a portion of your pension directly to your former spouse, if required by your divorce decree and/or marital property settlement agreement.

If you are about to enter or have entered the divorce process, we recommend that you call our Client Services group well before your court date.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)