“I’m an excellent housekeeper. Every time I get a divorce, I keep the house.” – Zsa Zsa Gabor. In this divorce case, Husband is ordered to make monthly payments of $5,000 in child support and $12,000 in maintenance (Obligations). He fails to pay, accumulates $101,486 in arrearages and has his law license suspended. The trial court permits Wife to collect from his retirement account pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) under 29 U.S.C. 1056 (ERISA). A QDRO allows a former spouse to obtain benefits owed to a participant in a retirement plan, and can be used to enforce payment of support and maintenance obligations. Under CRS 13-54-102, however, a retirement plan is not subject to such orders. The court of appeals held that Colorado’s law conflicts with ERISA, a Federal law, and is preempted. Husband’s retirement contributions could be taken to meet his Obligations.
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