If you separate

Defined contribution plans

Whether you are married or a de facto (common law) spouse, you can share with your former spouse the amounts that you have accumulated in your pension plan. Here's the way it works:

What is shared...

The money accumulated in your pension plan (not the pension you will receive after retirement) is partitioned. You former spouse will receive a sum of money that he or she can use following his own or her own retirement. That sum will be deducted from your account.

The steps for partition

  1. Application for a statement of benefits

    The amounts accumulated in a pension plan during marriage are part of the family patrimony.

    Whether you are married or a de facto (common law) spouse, there is a maximum amount that you can take from your pension plan and transfer to your former spouse.

    To make an informed decision, apply for a statement from your plan administrator (your spouse can also apply for the statement). Once the application has been received, the administrator has 60 days to send the statement to both you and your spouse.

    If you are married

    If you are in family mediation or if proceedings have been instituted for divorce, legal separation or civil annulment of marriage, you or your spouse can apply for a statement of benefits. The statement will indicate the total amount in your account as at the date on which proceedings were instituted and the portion of that amount that was accumulated during your marriage.

    You are a de facto (common law) spouse

    You and your former spouse can apply for a statement of benefits as soon as you are no longer living together. The statement will indicate the total amount in your account at the date on which you separated.

    To be recognized as de facto spouses...

    You must have lived together for at lease 3 years (or 1 year if a child was born or is to be born of your union or you have adopted a child). In addition, the spouse who is a member of the pension plan must not be married or in a civil union with another person.

    Forms for your use

    To make the procedure easier for you, our agency has prepared application forms that you can use to obtain a statement of benefits from the plan administrator.

  2. The application for partition

    Unlike partition under the Québec Pension Plan, partition of a supplemental pension plan is not carried out automatically. You or your former spouse must file an application for partition with the plan administrator.

    The application for partition should be filed as soon as possible after your conjugal relationship ends. The plan administrator will pay your former spouse the amount indicated in your judgment or agreement. In addition, interest will be added, even if the judgment does not mention interest, for the period between the end of the conjugal relationship and the date of partition.

    The 50% rule

    If you are married and your family patrimony is partitioned, the judgment or agreement cannot award you former spouse more than hald of the total value of the benefits accumulated in all your supplemental pension plans at the end of the conjugal relationship.

    If you were a de facto (common law) spouse, you cannot give your former spouse more than half of the total value of the sums accumulated in your pension plan on the date of your separation.

    When to apply for partition?

    If you were married

    You must have obtained a judgment of divorce, legal separation or civil annulment of marriage. If not, you cannot share the amounts accumulated in your plan, even if you have an agreement with your spouse.

    If you were a de facto (common law) spouse

    Your former spouse cannot, acting alone, require partition of the sums accumulated in your plan. For partition to be possible, you and your spouse must make a written agreement within 12 months following the end of the conjugal relationship.

    Forms for your use

    To make the procedure easier for you, our agency has prepared application forms that you can use to apply for partition.

    • If you were married: Form 5
    • If you were a de facto (common law) spouse: Form 6

Your spouse will NOT receive a cash payment

In most cases, once all the steps for partition have been taken, your former spouse will have to transfer the money received to a locked-in retirement account (LIRA) or a life income fund (LIF), as she chooses.

Advice from Retraite Québec...

If you separate, we suggest that you consult our section on conjugal breakdown. It will refer you to our programs and services that you may find very helpful.

Other useful link

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