The Teamsters union is one of the top 10 largest employee unions in the United States representing workers from various industries. Like other major employee unions, they offer and manage pension plan accounts for their members. The Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust, which covers 13 Western states, is the largest area-wide multiemployer pension plan in the United States. Local offices can be found here.

Pension Division Of A Western Conference Of Teamsters Pension Plan

During a divorce, property rights are often determined. Sometimes the most valuable asset is a pension plan. The pension plan is either awarded to one person or divided by a percentage or dollar amount. The process to divide it involves specific guidelines from The Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Plan. There will be court documents prepared and filed at the court, then served on the pension administrator as well as a final order signed by the judge for the division of the pension plan.

Steps To Divide The Western Conference Of Teamsters Pension Plan

A judgment for dissolution of marriage with orders for property rights is not enough to divide the pension plan. Teamsters must be brought into the court case. In California, before a QDRO or Teamsters pension plan division can be processed the court requires the filing and serving of a “joinder”. Similar to the initiation of the divorce case when documents were filed and served on the other party, Teamsters must also be served with filed documents indicating a party is attempting to complete a Teamsters pension plan division. Once served, the plan administrator has the opportunity to respond. Once final documents are reviewed and signed by the Judge, Teamsters can be directed to divide a pension account. It’s important to note that most Judges in California are requiring an approval letter from Teamsters indicating they have pre-approved the drafted QDRO.

Time Frame To Divide A Western Conference Of Teamsters Pension Plan

The standard time frame for the Teamsters pension plan division is outlined as follows. The Joinder can be prepared right away, but does require a 30 day wait period after the plan administrator is served before moving forward. Once the 30 days has elapsed, but not before the judgment for the dissolution is entered, the court will accept the QDRO for the Teamsters pension plan division. Most courts in California are taking about 3-5 weeks for the Judge to process and sign the QDRO. These two major steps in a best case scenario can be completed within about 60 days but unfortunately, as listed above, most Judges require an approval letter from Teamsters to sign the QDRO. After the QDRO is drafted, before it can go to the Judge, it must go the Teamsters for their legal team to review and approve it. Currently, they are taking about 6-8 weeks to review. The total time starting from filing the joinder to having the final documents signed by the judge is about 4 months.

How Our Team Handles Plan Divisions With The Western Conference Of Teamsters Pension Trust

A successful division of a Teamsters pension plan is the result of understanding the complexity of the process. On, or shortly after, the first appointment our team has joinder documents prepared and ready for signatures. It will be filed at the court within days. We then immediately facilitate the process service on Teamsters to start the court required 30 day wait period. While this process is in motion we concurrently draft the orders and submit to Teamsters for their review. While waiting for the 30 days to elapse, we will check with Teamsters every week for status of their review. As soon as an approval letter is received we obtain signatures and forward the documents to the court for the judge’s signature. Once processed by the court, copies are sent back to each party. We understand that time is money, especially when it comes to Teamsters accounts. Learn more about how we handle Teamsters pension plan divisions here: .

Closing Thoughts

More information for Teamsters members and former spouses of members can be found at the Teamsters website here.

As always, our team members are not attorneys and the information provided here and throughout our website IS NOT legal advice but informational and procedural. For specific advice as to your rights and responsibilities you should contact an attorney.