Separation or divorce and your pension

Learn how a separation or divorce affects your pension and review the issues to consider.

Changing beneficiaries after separation

If you are married or in a common-law relationship of more than two years, your spouse is automatically your beneficiary. Although you may want to name a new beneficiary after you separate, your ability to do so depends on if you separate before or after you retire.

Before you retire

You can name a beneficiary other than your former spouse if you separate before you begin receiving your pension.

If your former spouse is a limited member of the plan, they can name their own beneficiary to receive their portion of the pension when they die.

After you retire

Your ability to change your beneficiary or have multiple beneficiaries depends on the pension option you chose when you retired.

You may change your beneficiary only if:

  • You chose a single life pension option with a guarantee period
  • Your spouse gave up their beneficiary rights to your pension by signing a waiver

You cannot change your beneficiary if you chose a joint life pension option when you retired. This means your former spouse will continue to be the beneficiary of your pension when you die. This applies even if you have a signed separation agreement or registered court order.

If your former spouse dies when you are retired, you can name an alternate beneficiary if there is still a remaining guarantee period in your pension.

Sign in to My Account or check your semi-annual retired member pension statement to find out which pension option you chose at retirement.

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