Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter VI. Spouse Equity.


§ 1–529.01. Application.

This subchapter shall apply to any District employee or District retiree who is covered by the retirement program defined under § 1-702(7), or the retirement program established by §§ 1-626.03 to 1-626.12, or an officer, member, or retiree of the United States Park Police Force, or an officer, member or retiree of the United States Secret Service to whom the District of Columbia Policemen and Firemen’s Retirement and Disability Act (D.C. Code § 5-707 et seq.) applies.


(Mar. 16, 1989, D.C. Law 7-214, § 2, 36 DCR 513; Oct. 16, 1992, 106 Stat. 2167, Pub. L. 102-422, § 1(1); June 28, 1994, 108 Stat. 730, Pub. L. 103-268, § 1(a).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-3001.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-529.03, § 1-529.04, § 5-723.05, and § 38-2021.17.

Emergency Legislation

Section 5 of D.C. Law 11-218 repealed D.C. Act 11-369.

For temporary repeal of the Police Officers’, Fire Fighters’, and Teachers’ Defined Benefit Pension Program Emergency Establishment Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-369, August 21, 1996, 41 DCR 4637), see § 5 of the New Hires Police Officers, Fire Fighters, and Teachers Pension Modification Congressional Adjournment Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-10, March 3, 1997, 44 DCR 1633).

Effective Dates

Section 1(b) of Pub. L. 103-268 provided that the amendment made by subsection (a) shall take effect as if included in the enactment of the District of Columbia Spouse Equity Act of 1988.


§ 1–529.02. Definitions.

(a) “Court order” means any judgment, decree, or property settlement issued by or approved by any court of any state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Virgin Islands, and any Native American court in connection with, or incident to, the divorce, annulment of marriage, or legal separation of an employee or retiree.

(b) “Employee” means an individual who performs a function of the District government and who receives compensation for the performance of the services, as provided in § 1-603.01(7) or an officer, member, or retiree of the United States Park Police Force or an officer, member, or retiree of the United States Secret Service to whom the District of Columbia Policemen and Firemen’s Retirement and Disability Act (D.C. Code § 5-707 et seq.) applies.

(c) “Qualifying court order” means one that by its terms awards to a former spouse all or a portion of an employee’s or retiree’s retirement benefits, a payment from an employee’s or retiree’s retirement benefits, or a survivor annuity. The court order must state the former spouse’s share as a fixed amount, or a percentage or a fraction of the annuity, and shall indicate whether the former spouse should receive the amount awarded directly from the District. For purposes of awarding a survivor annuity, the court order must also either state the former spouse’s entitlement to a survivor annuity or direct the employee or retiree to provide a survivor annuity.


(Mar. 16, 1989, D.C. Law 7-214, § 3, 36 DCR 513; Oct. 16, 1992, 106 Stat. 2167, Pub. L. 102-422, § 1(2), (3).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-3002.

Editor's Notes

Law 17-358 amended this section subject to congressional enactment.


§ 1–529.03. Compliance with court orders.

(a) For purposes of this section, “former spouse” means a living person whose marriage to an employee or retiree has been subject to a divorce, annulment, or legal separation resulting in a court order, except that with respect to an award of a survivor annuity, it additionally means a living person:

(1) Who was married for at least 9 months to an employee or retiree who performed at least 18 months creditable service in a position covered by 1 or more of the retirement systems in § 1-529.01; and

(2) Whose marriage to the employee or retiree was terminated prior to the death of the employee or retiree.

(b) The Mayor shall comply with any qualifying court order that is issued prior to the employee’s retirement. Any qualifying court order that awards the entire amount the retirement system is responsible for with respect to that employee bars recovery by any other person.

(c) The Mayor shall comply with any qualifying court order that is issued after the employee’s retirement only to the extent it is consistent with any election previously executed at the time of retirement by the employee regarding that former spouse. Any qualifying court order that awards the entire amount the retirement system is responsible for with respect to that employee bars recovery by any other person.

(d) The Mayor is not obligated to comply with qualifying court orders issued prior to March 16, 1989.

(e)(1) Any reduction in an employee’s annuity, made pursuant to the relevant retirement system in order to provide for a survivor annuity awarded by court order, shall cease upon remarriage of the former spouse if the remarriage occurs before age 55.

(2) Payment of a survivor annuity to a former spouse pursuant to a court order shall cease upon the remarriage of the former spouse if the remarriage occurs before age 55.

(f) The Mayor is not obligated to comply with a qualifying court order issued after an employee's or retiree's death.


(Mar. 16, 1989, D.C. Law 7-214, § 4, 36 DCR 513; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-160, § 1112, 63 DCR 10775.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-3003.

Editor's Notes

Law 17-358 amended this section subject to congressional enactment.


§ 1–529.04. Enrollment in health benefits plan.

(a) For purposes of this section, “former spouse” means a living person:

(1) Who was married for at least 9 months to an employee or retiree who performed at least 18 months creditable service in a position covered by 1 or more of the retirement systems referred to in § 1-529.01;

(2) Whose marriage to the employee or retiree was terminated prior to the death of the employee or retiree;

(3) Who was enrolled as a family member in a health benefits plan approved under the Federal Health Benefits Program or in a plan approved under §§ 1-621.05 through 1-621.13 at any time during the 18-month period before the dissolution of the marriage by divorce, annulment, or legal separation; and

(4) Who is receiving any portion of an annuity or survivor’s annuity or is entitled to receive an annuity or survivor’s annuity pursuant to an election by the employee at the time of retirement, a qualifying court order, or the provisions of the retirement system.

(b) Any former spouse of an employee or of a retiree may enroll in a health benefits plan approved under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program or in a plan approved under §§ 1-621.05 through 1-621.13.

(c) Any former spouse who enrolls in a health benefits plan pursuant to subsection (b) of this section may elect to enroll either as an individual or for self and family, subject to an agreement by the former spouse to pay the full subscription charge of the enrollment, including any amount set aside for the administration of the health benefits plan and any necessary reserves as determined by the Mayor.

(d) Only former spouses whose marriages were dissolved after March 16, 1989 through divorce, annulment, or legal separation shall be eligible to enroll in the health benefits plans.


(Mar. 16, 1989, D.C. Law 7-214, § 6, 36 DCR 513.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-3004.

Editor's Notes

Law 17-358 amended this section subject to congressional enactment.


§ 1–529.05. Rules.

The Mayor shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, issue proposed rules to implement the provisions of this subchapter. The proposed rules shall be submitted to the Council of the District of Columbia (“Council”) for a 45-day period of review, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays, and days of Council recess. If the Council does not approve or disapprove the proposed rules, in whole or in part, by resolution within this 45-day review period, the proposed rules shall be deemed approved. Nothing in this section shall affect any requirements imposed upon the Mayor by subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2.


(Mar. 16, 1989, D.C. Law 7-214, § 7, 36 DCR 513.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-3005.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition of §§ 1-531.01 and 1-531.02, see § 3702 of Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-453, July 23, 2002, 49 DCR 8026).