On January 1, 2012, family law and pension legislation changes came into effect for the treatment of pensions upon the breakdown of a marriage or other spousal relationship.
If you and your spouse/former spouse were married, Ontario law requires that the value of the pension you earned during your time together be included in the calculation of net family property. There is no requirement to divide the pension, only to consider its value in the division of all family property.
For common-law spouses, there is no requirement under Ontario family law to divide net family property (including the value of any pension assets) on breakdown of their spousal relationship. You may however decide to do so.
The new rules, which apply to new cases as well as past cases without a pre-2012 legal agreement providing for the division of pension, bring these key changes:
- Prescribed valuation performed by the Plan - The Plan is required to calculate the Family Law Value of a member’s pension accrued during the relationship, using prescribed formulae, and provide this to both the member and their spouse/former spouse. (Under the old rules, the parties hired one or more actuaries to independently value the pension and may have negotiated over the valuation methodology as part of reaching an agreement on division.)
- Immediate settlement of benefits - Where a member and their former spouse agree or are required to divide the value of the member’s pension, the spouse’s portion of the Family Law Value will be immediately split from the member’s entitlement. Though settled immediately, the former spouse’s share may be transferred to a locked-in account until retirement age.
- Prescribed process and forms - Members, their spouses / former spouses and the Plan will be required to use several detailed forms created by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) throughout the process of applying for a valuation through to instructing the Plan on their decision about the division of the Family Law Value of the pension.
Spousal / Marriage Relationship Breakdown Forms
Click here to access the procedures and forms for requesting a pension valuation from the Plan.
Please refer to the pamphlet "Your pension and separation or divorce" for an explanation of the pension valuation process and the use of the forms.