Separation or divorce and your pension
Learn how a separation or divorce affects your pension and review the issues to consider.
Paying the divided pension to you and your former spouse
Once your former spouse becomes a limited member, they may be entitled to receive either:
- A monthly pension
- A lump-sum payment to a locked-in retirement vehicle
The factors that affect your former spouse’s options include:
- Your age
- Whether you are eligible to retire or have already retired
- How you choose to receive your pension when you stop working (for example, as a monthly pension or as a lump-sum payment if you are eligible for one)
Your former spouse can receive their share of the pension when you reach your earliest retirement age. We will not contact your former spouse to let them know of this date. They are responsible for applying for their share of the pension if they wish to begin receiving it at your earliest retirement age.
If you have applied for your pension and your former spouse is a limited member who has not yet started receiving their share of the pension, we will contact them to let them know about their pension options.
We will calculate your pension and your former spouse’s share of your pension. We will pay their share directly to them.
If your former spouse is not a limited member but has claimed an interest in your pension by submitting Form P1 Claim and request for information and notice (or we have received a copy of your signed separation agreement, registered court order or Form P9), we will contact them and give them 30 days to become a limited member.
If they are still not a limited member after 30 days, we will pay your full pension to you and you will be responsible for paying your former spouse their share.
If you separate after you’ve started receiving your pension
If you and your spouse separate or divorce after you retire, the pension option you chose at retirement will apply to both your share and your former spouse’s share of the pension.
Your former spouse can apply to become a limited member of the plan. We will then pay their share of your pension directly to them and reduce your monthly pension payment by the amount going to your former spouse.
Depending on the pension option you chose when you retired, your former spouse may continue to receive the pension after your death.
If you die before you start receiving your pension
Under the Family Law Act, the default scenario is that your former spouse is entitled to 50 per cent of the pension benefits earned during your relationship if you die before you start to receive your pension.
However, there may be circumstances where your separation agreement or court order specifies a different percentage.
Your former spouse must apply to become a limited member of the plan within 30 days of your death to receive their proportionate share directly from the pension plan.
If your former spouse dies before you retire
If your former spouse dies before you retire and before receiving their share of your pension, we will pay their share to their estate or beneficiary. Your former spouse can only name a beneficiary if they are a limited member. If your former spouse is entitled to a share of your pension and has not become a limited member, their estate has 30 days to do so.