Divorce and a Participant's Benefits
New York courts have determined that a NYSTRS Participant’s benefits are marital assets subject to equitable distribution under the Domestic Relations Law upon the Participant’s divorce to the extent those benefits were acquired during the marriage. Accordingly, when a NYSTRS Participant divorces, a court may determine that the Participant’s spouse is entitled to share in the Participant’s benefits upon the dissolution of marriage. Payment to the former spouse, however, is effectuated only upon the retirement of the Participant, or when he/she is in pay status.

NYSTRS encourages individuals to read our publication Domestic Relations Orders and a Participant's Retirement Benefit – A Guide to DROs and NYSTRS Benefits which provides important information to consider when determining the division of NYSTRS benefits.

Any division of NYSTRS benefits pursuant to the Domestic Relations Law must be provided for in a Domestic Relations Order (DRO) and approved ("So Ordered") by a Court of competent jurisdiction. To assist individuals in drafting a DRO, we offer this convenient form.

Please submit a draft of the DRO to NYSTRS' Legal Department for review prior to its submission to the Court.

After it has been granted and certified by the court, upon your receipt of your certified copy of a signed DRO, we encourage you to submit it to the System so we have it in our records at the time of your retirement.