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What is an EDRO?


by Sandra Wisnewski, J.D., Director of the Mid-America Pension Rights Project

EDRO is the acronym for, Eligible Domestic Relations Order.

Without getting too bogged down with the gory details, a EDRO is a document that is generated when a divorce occurs. A EDRO is used when one or both of the parties earned a pension through a public employer during the marriage. A pension is considered an asset of the parties. The employee who earned the pension is referred to as the participant. The spouse of the employee is referred to as the alternate payee.

The EDRO reflects the Judgment of Divorce and its purpose is to split the earned pension. Usually, without a EDRO the pension will only be payable to the participant. EDRO’s should be generated by an attorney or a EDRO specialist. Once the EDRO is generated, it must be signed by the judge and approved by the plan. Until it is approved by the plan, the document is referred to as a DRO, domestic relations order. This document is then used as instructions for how the monies will be distributed to the parties.  

We enjoy speaking to every person who contacts the Project, and want to dedicate this series to those with inquiring minds. Thanks to all the clients who we’ve had the privilege of assisting throughout the past seventeen years!  

The Pension Project is funded by the Federal government through a grant provided by the Administration for Community Living, and is a program of Elder Law of Michigan, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit. This blog was produced through grant funds, but does not represent the view of the Administration for Community Living.

Since the program began in 1998, the Pension Project has assisted over 11,000 clients and has recovered over 50 million dollars in pension benefits. The Pension Project assists clients in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. For more information, visit

If you need help with or information about your pension or 401(k) benefit, please call the Mid-America Pension Rights Project at 866-735-7737 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys.

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