Division of marital property (division during lifetime)

STRS Ohio provides retirement benefits for teachers and administrators employed by public schools, colleges and universities. It is created and governed by Chapter 3307, Revised Code, and consists of a Defined Benefit Plan, a Defined Contribution Plan and a Combined Plan. For more information about each plan, check out our Service Retirement and Plans of Payment brochures.

STRS Ohio is a tax-qualified governmental plan under 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code and is not subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Members of STRS Ohio do not participate in Social Security.

Ohio law provides that former spouses can receive a portion of a member’s benefits during the member’s lifetime. Members’ retirement benefits are also subject to income withholding orders for child support and spousal support.

STRS Ohio has developed court orders in fillable PDF format that can be used by the court. They are not required, but STRS Ohio strongly recommends that you use these fillable orders:

If you choose not to use the fillable orders, you may incorporate the language into your separation agreement or the court may use the language in its order.

Please make sure you submit your separation agreement with the order from the court about your divorce if you choose not to use the template orders.

Court-ordered benefits to be paid to former spouse after the benefit recipient’s death

The court may order you to name your former spouse as beneficiary when you apply for service retirement and also select a plan of payment that provides your former spouse a monthly benefit after your death. If you and your spouse divorce after you have retired and become a benefit recipient and you selected a Joint and Survivor plan of payment with reversion, the court may order that you can remove your former spouse as beneficiary and change your plan of payment to a Single Life Annuity. The court may also order that you cannot remove your former spouse as beneficiary or change your plan of payment.

If you have not yet retired, the court may order you to name your former spouse as a beneficiary at the time you retire and that you also select a plan of payment that provides a benefit to the former spouse after your death. See Section 3307.60, R.C. There are three ways the amount of the former spouse’s benefit may be calculated:

  1. The court may order that the benefit to your former spouse after your death be the amount of the marital portion of your retirement benefit. The marital portion is determined by percentage of a fraction in which the numerator is the years of marriage in which you were both a contributing member in STRS Ohio and married to your former spouse. The denominator is the total years of service credit used by STRS Ohio in calculating your retirement benefit.
  2. The court may order that the benefit to your former spouse after your death be a simple percentage of your retirement benefit.
  3. The court may order that the benefit to your former spouse after your death be a specific dollar amount.

The court may also order that you are not required to leave a survivorship benefit to your former spouse.

When you apply for retirement, you will be required to submit a certified copy of the court order granting the dissolution of marriage including the separation or settlement agreement if it is incorporated into the order. STRS Ohio has the sole discretion to review the court order and determine what you are required to select at the time of your retirement and may require you to obtain clarifying orders from the court.

Alternatively, you may submit a certified copy of a court order that contains the language provided in the applicable template order linked above in lieu of submitting the entire judgment entry granting dissolution of marriage.


  1. Can I name other beneficiaries in addition to my former spouse?

    Yes. Section 3307.60(4) provides that you may name up to four beneficiaries including your former spouse. However, the amount of the benefit ordered by the court to be paid to your former spouse cannot be reduced. The total amount of the benefit to be paid to the beneficiaries cannot exceed the amount of your benefit.

  2. Does the order also apply to beneficiary designations prior to retirement?

    No. The order only applies to the beneficiary designation made at the time of retirement.

  3. Will this order provide payments to my former spouse while I am living?

    No. A DOPO must be issued for your former spouse to receive a portion of your retirement benefit during your lifetime.

This is a summary written in plain language for use by STRS Ohio members. It is not intended as a substitute for the Ohio Revised Code or the Ohio Administrative Code or for any state or federal law or regulation, nor will its interpretation prevail should a conflict arise between it and any law or regulation. More information may be obtained by contacting STRS Ohio toll free at 888-227-7877. This general information about STRS Ohio benefits and rights and divorce is provided to assist members and their attorneys and is not legal or tax advice.