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Marriage/Common-Law Breakdown



If you and your partner (spouse or common-law) have separated, it is important to contact TRAF promptly for more information about how your pension is affected. If the separation is permanent, your partner may be entitled to half of the pension benefit earned from the date the relationship began to the date of separation. "Separation" means you are living separate and apart from your spouse or common-law partner by reason of a breakdown in your relationship.

How to proceed

Complete a Marriage/Common-Law Breakdown Calculation Request and send it to TRAF. Once we receive the completed form, we will calculate the commuted value of the monthly pension earned during the period of your relationship.You and your former partner will each receive a letter outlining the former partner's entitlement, the impact on your future pension payments and information on the settlement options available.

If you have a separation agreement, court order or other documents relating to your relationship breakdown, we request that you forward copies to us as soon as possible. We require a copy of them before any payment can be made.  

Check your Beneficiary Designation through your Online Services account and ensure that your marital or common-law relationship status and your beneficiary information is updated and accurate.

What you should know

1.

Upon receipt of the required documents, your former partner can apply for their share of the pension, which must generally be transferred to one of the following:

  • Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA), or
  • Partner's pension plan, providing it will accept such a transfer.
 

If you are both members of pension plans, you and your former partner may choose to divide the net difference of the pension benefit credits. You must each agree to this in writing and provide TRAF with the required documents.

Required documents include:

  • A court order under The Family Property Act (Manitoba) or a written agreement between the parties indicating family assets have been divided; or
  • A court order from another province or territory in Canada requiring the division of the member's pension or pension benefit credit; or
  • An order of the Court of Queen's Bench (Manitoba) requiring the division of the member's pension or pension benefit credit in the case of a common-law relationship.

If the division occurs, your pension will be reduced by half the pension that accrued during the relationship plus cost of living adjustments between the date of separation and the date your pension starts.

2.

You do not have to divide your pension when both parties have entered into a written agreement acknowledging that each of the parties:

  • Is entering into the agreement voluntarily and without duress, coercion or compulsion of any kind;
  • Has received independent legal advice with respect to the effect of the agreement; and
  • Has received the statement from TRAF indicating the value of the plan member's pension earned during the period of relationship.

TRAF will require a copy of this agreement.

If you entered into a prenuptial or cohabitation agreement, please provide a copy to our office so that TRAF can determine if your pension will be affected.

Common-law relationship rules

The provision to divide the pension applies to common-law partners who:

  • Began living separate and apart from each other on or after June 30, 2004,
  • Began living separate and apart from each other after 1983 and before June 30, 2004 if a declaration was filed in respect of the relationship, or
  • Were living separate and apart on June 30, 2004, but resumed cohabiting for at least 90 days after that day.

A common-law partner can apply to the Court of Queen's Bench (Manitoba) for an order requiring a member's pension or pension benefit credit to be divided if the last common habitual residence was in Manitoba. The application must be made within three years after the common-law partner and the member last began to live separate and apart, or in the case of the member's death, within six months after the grant of probate or letters of administration, whichever occurs first.