The sole purpose of this section is to notify the current spouse of the selection of benefits or change of beneficiary made by a member. This section is not intended to conflict with community property law.

(a) An application for a refund of the member’s accumulated contributions, an election of optional settlement, a designation of beneficiary, or a change in beneficiary designation shall contain the signature of the current spouse of the member, unless the member declares, in writing under penalty of perjury, any of the following:

Terms Used In California Government Code 21261

  • Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract. Source: OCC
  • Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
  • Spouse: includes "registered domestic partner" as required by Section 297. See California Education Code 19407
  • Subdivision: means a subdivision of the section in which the term occurs unless some other section is expressly mentioned. See California Education Code 19404

(1) The member is not married.

(2) The current spouse has no identifiable community property interest in the benefit.

(3) The member does not know, and has taken all reasonable steps to determine, the whereabouts of the current spouse.

(4) The current spouse has been advised of the application and has refused to sign the written acknowledgment.

(5) The current spouse is incapable of executing the acknowledgment because of an incapacitating mental or physical condition.

(6) The member and the current spouse have executed a marriage settlement agreement pursuant to Part 5 (commencing with Section 1500) of Division 4 of the Family Code that makes the community property law inapplicable to the marriage.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the designation of a member’s current spouse as the member’s sole primary beneficiary on any lump-sum beneficiary designation shall not require the signature of the member’s current spouse.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), when a member makes an election of optional settlement that, upon the member’s death, provides the member’s current spouse with a monthly lifetime allowance that is the same as the monthly lifetime allowance received by the member, and the member’s current spouse is also designated as the member’s sole primary beneficiary on any lump-sum beneficiary designation, the election shall not require the signature of the member’s current spouse.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 241, Sec. 8. (SB 525) Effective January 1, 2018.)