Settle Breakdowns


If you and your spouse or common-law partner break up permanently, your partner is entitled to half of the pension benefit earned from the date of marriage or common-law relationship to the date of separation.

How Your Pension is Affected

If your marriage or common-law relationship ends, your former partner is entitled, by legislation, to the greater of:

  • Half the commuted value of the pension earned between the date your marriage or common-law relationship began and the date of separation.
  • Half the contributions made and interest earned during that same period.

In most cases, the commuted value is the greater amount.

What You Should Know

1.

Upon receipt of the required documents, your former partner can apply for his or her share of the pension which must 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 both of you are 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 funds are transferred to your former partner, 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.

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 with each other for a period of 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.

How to Proceed

Ensure you complete the Marriage/Common-Law Breakdown Calculation Request and return it to TRAF. Once we receive the completed form, we will calculate the value for the period of your marriage or common-law relationship.

If you have a separation agreement, we request that you forward a copy to us as soon as possible. We require a copy of it before any payment can be made.  

Prompt reporting ensures that the matters related to the division of pension are cleared up quickly. If this is not settled, it can delay your pension.

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