Relationship Breakdown

There are several things to know when it comes to your pension and a divorce or separation.

If you separate or divorce, it is very important that you contact us as soon as possible.

It is suggested that you find an independent, professional representative who can give you legal advice about pension division and marital breakdown. You and your representative can also view detailed information about this topic here.

Pensions are considered matrimonial property which can be divided. It is very important to note that not every separation or divorce results in a member's pension being divided. You and your former spouse can agree that other assets of equal value can cover anything owed, or you and your spouse might agree not to divide anything at all, which would leave your MEPP pension unaffected.

In order to divide a MEPP pension, we require a court-certified matrimonial property order (MPO) that complies with the Plan rules. Please provide us with a draft order to review so we can make sure that we can follow the terms of the order.

Whatever you and your former spouse decide to do regarding your MEPP pension, please let us know as soon as possible.

Marriage Breakdown

In a separation or divorce, it may be necessary to determine the value of a member's pension. You can write to us to request a Total Entitlement estimate which is a statement of the value of the MEPP pension benefit.

The non-member spouse can also request this estimate, and the information is always sent to both parties. Contact us for information about the request and how to submit it.

Written requests must have the following information:

  • the signature of the person requesting the estimate;
  • the full names, current addresses, and current phone numbers of both the MEPP member and the spouse;
  • an estimated date for the end of joint accrual (this is normally the time the parties were married or living together). The end date must be either a date before the request, or the date of the request;
  • if the request is from, or is to go to, a MEPP member's lawyer, we require an authorization signed by the member allowing us to share the estimate with that lawyer; and
  • if the written request is from, or is to go to, a non-member spouse's lawyer, the non-member spouse must sign an authorization allowing us to share the estimate with that lawyer.

 

Common-Law Relationship Breakdown

In a common-law relationship, pension benefits cannot be divided, as this type of relationship is not covered under the Matrimonial Property Act. However, it's important to update your information on file, including any changes to your pension partner status.

Removing a common-law pension partner from your pension before retirement will require you to complete a statutory declaration. Contact us to get a copy of this form and instructions for completing it.

Pre-Retirement Marriage Breakdown

  • Non-vested member: Spouse's share is a lump-sum payout of a portion of the member's contributions with interest. This can be paid as taxable cash or transferred to an RRSP.
  • Vested member: Spouse receives a share of the commuted value of the pension which must be transferred to a Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA).

Delayed Division

If a member is vested at the end of the period of joint accrual and is also within 10 years of turning 65 years of age, the non-member spouse can choose to delay the calculation and distribution of the value of the pension benefits until the member:

  • begins the MEPP pension;
  • triggers a benefit payment by leaving the Plan;
  • completes a transfer to another pension plan; or
  • passes away.

This delayed division must be included in the MPO.

Post-Retirement Marriage Breakdown

If the non-member spouse is entitled to division of monthly pension payments, these payments will be split according to the division outlined in the MPO. The spouse's share is limited to 50 per cent. The funds will be paid monthly and directly to the non-member spouse. There is no option for a lump-sum payment.

Contact Member Services