QDRO Needed If Alternate Payee Gets Nothing?

I couldn’t figure out why in the world a plan administrator recently wanted a QDRO when the alternate payee was getting nothing under the Marital Settlement Agreement. Now I do. The 5th circuit ruled a QDRO was the only permissible way to release pension rights and in the absence of a QDRO the divorced spouse got it all upon the participant’s death where the employee never changed the beneficiary designation, even though she waived rights in the settlement agreement. The United States Supreme Court accepted cert and oral arguments are set next month. Here's the post from the Cornell University Law School and here is the critique from the Workplace Prof Blog.