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The primary use of the official notice is to keep the plan from distributing the funds or to keep your ex from cashing out the account. While there is not measure that will guarantee absolutely that the funds will be frozen, this notice is the best possible measure available. The next step is to start the QDRO process as soon as possible.
A secondary benefit of a NAI is to confirm that the pension account is still active. It is not uncommon, especially when addressing the retirement division long past the time of divorce, for the participant to take a early payout, and running off with the money, as they say.