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Under state law, the Firemen's Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago ("FABF") benefits may not be paid to anyone other than the member, except to an alternate payee pursuant to a valid Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order ("QILDRO"). FABF began accepting QILDRO's received on and after July 1, 1999. Unless there is a valid QILDRO in place FABF will pay retirement benefits to the member. It is the member's obligation to honor a divorce decree directing payment to an ex-spouse.

In 1998 the Illinois legislature passed what is known as the QILDRO legislation. This legislation, with an effective date of July 1, 1999, amended the Illinois Pension Code by adding a new section 1-119 [40 ILCS 5/1-119], and by modifying portions of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act [750 ILCS 5/503]. A QILDRO may require FABF to pay all or a portion of a FABF member's retirement benefits to an "alternate payee". An alternate payee is usually the member's former spouse, but may also be a current spouse, child, or other dependent of the member.

In 2005, a revised QILDRO law was passed with an effective date of July 1, 2006. The new law expanded the QILDRO to apply to lump sum death benefits and allows for division of benefits on a percentage basis and provided a QILDRO Calculation Order for that purpose. The law is very specific regarding what information is to be provided by FABF and when it must be provided. The law further states the responsibilities of the member, alternate payee and their representatives regarding the calculation of benefits, allocation methods and filing requirements.

The QILDRO legislation does not change the law that determines an appropriate division of marital assets. A member should consult his or her divorce lawyer about what assets are included in the couple's marital property, and about the division of those assets. FABF cannot and does not give legal or tax advice about the proper division of retirement benefits in a given case.