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Divorce or Legal Separation

Divorce and legal separation are considered qualifying events, which allow you to make changes to your benefits during the plan year. Changes must be made within 30 days after the divorce or legal separation and consistent with and as a result of the divorce or legal separation. If you have questions, contact Human Resources.

Action Items Checklist:

Change name (if applicable) and marital status with Human Resources.

Martial status, social security number or taxpayer ID and name changes can also be initiated in Oracle in the same place (Personal Information) but must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. If that is not submitted, the Employee Records team will request it before processing the update. For questions, please email


Change tax withholding status (if applicable).

  Update your W-4 by logging into Oracle, selecting Pay, then Tax Withholding, edit and save changes. 
Make changes to benefits.
  See the Family Status Change page for more information.

More Details:

Health, Dental and/or Vision Coverage

Changes must be made within 30 days of the date of the divorce or legal separation.

You must drop your ex-spouse from your coverage (whether divorced or legally separated).

  • You must declare a Life Change within 30 days of the status change. See Family Status Change for more information.
  • Your ex-spouse can opt to pay for his/her own benefits through COBRA; he/she will be notified by mail.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

Changes must be made within 30 days of the date of the divorce or legal separation.

  • If you anticipate changes to your health care or dependent care expenses in the upcoming months due to your change in marital status, you may want to begin participating in an FSA, or increase or decrease the contributions to your existing FSA.
  • See Family Status Change for more information.

Retirement Benefits

Changes should be made as soon as possible after the divorce or legal separation.

  • Contact your investment company to update your beneficiary designation.

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO)

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is as court judgment, decree or order that:

  1. is made pursuant to state domestic relations law
  2. relates to the provisions of child support, alimony payments or marital property rights for the benefit of a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent of a participant
  3. creates or recognizes the existence of an alternative payee’s right to receive, or assigns to an alternative payee the right to receive, all or a portion of the benefits payable with respect to a participant under a federally regulated retirement plan, and that includes certain information and meets certain other legal requirements. Contact your attorney for specific requirements.

To avoid a delay in processing, Vanderbilt’s Benefits Administration Office suggests the following steps for processing a QDRO. Following these steps allows for review of the order prior to court review and assures the document will be deemed a qualified order for the Vanderbilt University Retirement Plan, thus avoiding the expense of having revisions made and re-submitting the Order to the Court.

To process a Qualified Domestic Relations Order:

  1. Prepare the proposed Order (or have your attorney prepare one for you) and submit the draft document to Vanderbilt's Benefits Administration Office for consideration. (A divorce decree/marital dissolution agreement is not sufficient.) Vanderbilt does not provide a standard form but you may contact your investment company to see if they have one they will provide.
  2. The Benefits Administration Office will review the Order with Vanderbilt’s Office of the General Counsel and return the Order to you with either tentative approval or a list of recommended changes needed to be accepted as “qualified” by the Vanderbilt University Retirement Plan.
  3. After you or your attorney make the requested revisions, the Order must be submitted to the Benefits Administration Office for a final review (before submission to the court).
  4. Once approval is given by Benefits Administration, the Order should be submitted to the Court for approval.
  5. Once approval is granted by the Court, a certified copy of the Order must be submitted to the Benefits Administration Office for submission to the Investment Company as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.
  6. The Investment Company will then divide the assets according to the approved and executed QDRO.

Name of Plan:

Vanderbilt University Retirement Plan

Plan Administrator:

Vanderbilt University

Please direct correspondence to:
Vanderbilt University Benefits Administration

Regular Mail:
PMB #407704
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, Tennessee 37240-7704

Overnight Mail:
110 21st Avenue South
Suite 1000
Nashville, TN 37203

For questions specifically related to Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, contact:
615.322.3507 or


Life Insurance

Change can be made anytime during the year.

  • You may want to change your beneficiary designation.