Partition process for a pension plan

Important Notice

Please consult Newsletter number 32, Amendments to the Regulation respecting supplemental pension plans effective 4 January 2018, as well as division V – Transfer of benefits between spouses This link will open in a new window. of the Regulation respecting supplemental pension plans, to find out the rules for partition applicable to spouses in a civil union, the changes to the payment methods applicable to the former spouse, and the calculation of member benefits after partition.

Partition itself is the second step when partitioning benefits under a pension plan, and results from:

  • the valuation of a member's benefits and, for former married spouses, the portion that was accumulated during their marriage
  • the judgment of divorce, separation from bed and board or civil annulment of marriage (former married spouses), or an agreement made by former de facto (common law) spouses

The Civil Code of Québec and the Regulation respecting supplemental pension plans This link will open in a new window. set requirements as to the method of carrying out partition and the amount to transfer to a former spouse. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, it is important to know the requirements.

When and how to apply for partition

Former married spouses

The application for partition can be made as soon as the time period for appealing the judgment has expired, that is, 30 days after the date on which the judgment was rendered.

Former de facto (common law) spouses

The application can be filed as soon as the former spouses reach an agreement.

Civil union spouses

Under the Supplemental Pension Plans Act, civil union spouses may have partition of their benefits under a pennsion plan carried out if their union is annulled or dissolved.

How partition is carried out

Unlike the Québec Pension Plan, partition of a pension plan is not automatic. One of the former spouses must file an application with the plan administrator.

Main points to be aware of

Apply for partition as soon possible

It is better to apply for partition as soon as possible. If not, the member's former spouse may have difficulty obtaining the amounts owning.

This situation could arise if, for example, after employment ends, the plan member transfers the benefits before the application for partition has been submitted to the plan administrator. The administrator cannot act because the sums are no longer in the member's account.

Take a close look at the situation before making an agreement or filing an application with the court

Partitioning benefits in equally is not always the best solution.

Before reaching such a decision, spouses should consider several factors, including:

  • how the spouse could spend the money received
  • tax laws 
  • the effects of partition on both the member's and the former spouse's retirement income.

To find out more...

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