2018 Oklahoma Statutes
Title 70. Schools
§70-17-109. Exemption from legal process.

Universal Citation: 70 OK Stat § 70-17-109 (2018)

A. Except as otherwise provided by this section, the right of a person to an annuity or a retirement allowance, to the return of contributions, annuity, or retirement allowance itself, any optional benefit, or any other right accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of this act, and the monies in the various funds created by this act, are hereby exempt from levy and sale, garnishment, attachment or any other process whatsoever, and shall be unassignable except as in this act specifically provided. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Board of Trustees may approve any offset of a member's benefit to pay a judgment or settlement against a member for a crime involving the System, for a breach of the member's fiduciary duty to the System, or for funds or monies incorrectly paid to a member or a beneficiary by mistake, provided such offset is in accordance with the requirements of Section 401(a)(13) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

B. 1. The provisions of subsection A of this section shall not apply to a qualified domestic order as provided pursuant to this subsection.

2. The term "qualified domestic order" means an order issued by a district court of this state pursuant to the domestic relation laws of the State of Oklahoma which relates to the provision of marital property rights to a spouse or former spouse of a member or provision of support for a minor child or children and which creates or recognizes the existence of the right of an alternate payee, or assigns to an alternate payee the right, to receive a portion of the benefits payable with respect to a member of the Retirement System.

3. For purposes of the payment of marital property, to qualify as an alternate payee, a spouse or former spouse must have been married to the related member for a period of not less than thirty (30) continuous months immediately preceding the commencement of the proceedings from which the qualified domestic order issues.

4. A qualified domestic order is valid and binding on the Board of Trustees and the related member only if it meets the requirements of this subsection.

5. A qualified domestic order shall clearly specify:

a.the name and last-known mailing address (if any) of the member and the name and mailing address of the alternate payee covered by the order,

b.the amount or percentage of the member's benefits to be paid by the Retirement System to the alternate payee,

c.the number of payments or period to which such order applies,

d.the characterization of the benefit as to marital property rights or child support, and

e.each plan to which such order applies.

6. A qualified domestic order meets the requirements of this subsection only if such order:

a.does not require the Retirement System to provide any type or form of benefit, or any option not otherwise provided under state law as relates to the Retirement System,

b.does not require the Retirement System to provide increased benefits, and

c.does not require the payment of benefits to an alternate payee which are required to be paid to another alternate payee pursuant to another order previously determined to be a qualified domestic order or an order recognized by the Retirement System as a valid order prior to the effective date of this act.

7. A qualified domestic order shall not require payment of benefits to an alternate payee prior to the actual retirement date or withdrawal of the related member.

8. The obligation of the Retirement System to pay an alternate payee pursuant to a qualified domestic order shall cease upon the death of the related member.

9. This subsection shall not be subject to the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C.A. Section 1001, et seq., as amended from time to time, or rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, and court cases interpreting said act.

10. The Board of Trustees of the Teachers' Retirement System of Oklahoma shall promulgate such rules as are necessary to implement the provisions of this subsection.

11. An alternate payee who has acquired beneficiary rights pursuant to a valid qualified domestic order must fully comply with all provisions of the rules promulgated by the Board of Trustees pursuant to this subsection in order to continue receiving his or her benefit.

Added by Laws 1969, c. 157, § 9, operative Aug. 2, 1969. Amended by Laws 1971, c. 281, § 24-122, eff. July 2, 1971; Laws 1989, c. 249, § 43, eff. Jan. 1, 1989; Laws 1993, c. 322, § 17, emerg. eff. June 7, 1993; Laws 1998, c. 198, § 8, eff. Nov. 1, 1998; Laws 1999, c. 257, § 27, eff. July 1, 1999.

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