The breakdown of your de facto (common law) union

The breakdown of your union can have an impact on the amount of the employment earnings recorded under your name under the Québec Pension Plan or Canada Pension Plan, if applicable, as well on any supplemental pension plans, locked-in retirement accounts (LIRAs) and life income funds (LIFs).

Québec Pension Plan

  • The notion of family patrimony does not apply to de facto (common law) spouses. Nevertheless, in the case of a separation, former de facto spouses can apply jointly for partition of employment earnings recorded under the Québec Pension Plan or Canada Pension Plan, if applicable.
  • For partition to be carried out, you must meet the following 3 conditions:
    • You were in a conjugal relationship for at least 3 years, or at least 1 year if a child was born or is to be born of your union, or if you adopted a child.
    • You have been separated for at least 12 months.
    • Neither you nor your former de facto spouse were married to or in a civil union with another person during your separation.
  • We strongly recommend that you apply for simulated partition of employment earnings to obtain a free estimate of your retirement pension before and after partition.
  • If you are receiving a retirement pension and you or your former spouse have applied for pension sharing , it will end at the end of the month in which  receive an application to terminate pension sharing signed by one of the de facto spouses. Each of you then receives the same retirement pension (if any) that you were receiving before pension sharing began.

Supplemental Pension Plans

  • For partition to be carried out for your pension plan, you must reach an agreement with your former de facto spouse.
  • Before deciding about partition, you should apply for a statement of benefits for the purposes of partition. You can use the appropriate form provided and send it to the plan administrator.
  • You should also consider the effects of partition before making a decision.
  • To have the administrator carry out partition for your pension plan, you  or your former spouse must apply for it. You can use the appropriate form provided and send it to the plan administrator.
  • For more information on partition for your pension plan, contact your mediator, legal advisor or plan administrator.

LIRAs and LIFs

  • For partition to be carried out for your locked-in retirement account (LIRA) or life income fund (LIF), you will have to reach an agreement with your former de facto spouse within 12 months following your separation.
  • The LIRA or LIF must be evaluated at its market value. There are no prescribed rules for evaluating the portion accumulated during the union, but it must be done in a reasonable way.
  • Your former de facto spouse cannot receive more than half of the total value of your LIRA or LIF as at the date on which your conjugal relationship ended.
  • To apply for partition of your LIRA or LIF, you or your former spouse must provide your financial institution with a copy of your agreement.
  • Partition is carried out by transferring the amount provided for to an LIRA, an LIF, an annuity contract or the pension plan of your former de facto spouse.
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