If you separate

Whether you are married or de facto (common law) spouses, the benefits accumulated in your defined benefit pension plan can be partitioned between you and your former spouse. The following information explains the process.


What is partitioned...

You can partition money accumulated under your pension plan but not the actual pension that will be paid to you upon retirement. Your former spouse will receive entitlement to a sum of money that he or she can use only during retirement. The amount will be deducted from the benefits accumulated in your pension plan.


The steps in partition

  1. Application for a statement of benefits
  2. The sums accumulated in a pension plan during the marriage are part of the family patrimony.

    Whether you are married or de facto (common law) spouses, there is a limit to the amount that can be taken from your plan and given to your former spouse.

    To make an informed decision, request a statement of benefits from the plan administrator (your spouse can also make the request). The administrator has 60 days following the date of your request to send both you and your spouse the statement.

    You are married

    If you are in family mediation or if you have initiated divorce proceedings, legal separation or civil annulment of marriage, you or your spouse can request a statement of benefits. The statement will indicate the total value of the benefits accumulated in the pension plan as at the date of the conjugal breakdown, as well as the portion of those benefits accumulated during your marriage.

    You are de facto spouses

    You and your former spouse can request a statement of benefits once you are no longer living together. The statement will indicate the total value of the benefits accumulated in the pension plan as at the date of the conjugal breakdown.

    To be recognized as de facto spouses...

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



    Forms to complete

    To make the task easier, Retraite Québec provides forms that you can use to request a statement of benefits.

    If you are married:
    Forms 1 to 3

    If you are de facto spouses:
    Form 4


  3. Application for partition
  4. The partition of pension plan benefits is not carried out automatically as in the case of the Québec Pension Plan. 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 the breakdown of the relationship. Your former spouse will be paid the amount indicated in your judgment or agreement. In addition, even if not specified in the judgment or agreement, interest will be added for the period between the date of the breakdown and the date of partition.


    The 50% rule
    If you were married and your family patrimony is partitioned, the judgment or agreement cannot award your former spouse more than half of the total value of the benefits accumulated in your supplemental pension plans as at the date of the breakdown of your relationship.

    If you were de facto spouses, your former spouse cannot receive more than half of the total value of the benefits accumulated in your pension plan as at the date on which your conjugal relationship ended.



    When to file an application for partition?

    If you were married

    You must have obtained a judgment of divorce, legal separation or civil annulment of marriage. If this is not the case, partition of your benefits cannot be carried out, even if you have an agreement with your former spouse.

    If you were de facto spouses

    Your former spouse cannot demand partition of your benefits. Partition is possible only if you conclude a written agreement to that effect in the 12 months following the breakdown of your relationship.


    Forms to complete

    To make the task easier, Retraite Québec provides forms that you can use to request partition.

    If you are married: 
    Form 5

    If you are de facto spouses:
    Form 6


Your former spouse will not receive cash

In most cases, once partition has been carried out, your former spouse will have to transfer the amount received to a locked-in retirement account (LIRA) or a life income fund (LIF), depending on his or her choice.



Advice from Retraite Québec...

If you separate, we suggest that you consult the section on our website dealing with conjugal breakdown. This will lead you to some of Retraite Québec's programs and services that could be very useful to you.



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