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Marriage/Common-Law Breakdown

If you and your former 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 the monthly pension 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 monthly pension earned during the period of your relationship and determine the amount, if any, due to the former partner since the date of separation. 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.

Settlement options

The following options are available to you.

Divide the monthly pension payments

The division of the pension applies retroactively to your date of separation, so prompt notification to TRAF is important. If the pension is divided, your monthly payment, including voluntary annuity, integration, bridging benefit and cost of living adjustments, if applicable, is divided between you and your former partner based on the pension earned during the relationship. You will each receive your respective share as a monthly payment as well as general correspondence including annual T4A tax slips.

If you divide your pension and you or your partner pass away, the pension will be adjusted in accordance with the original plan selected. You and your original partner can each name a new beneficiary for your respective share of the pension.

Note that, under legislation, your former partner’s monthly entitlement cannot be paid as a lump sum.

TRAF will require a copy of a written agreement or court order confirming the division of family property. You must provide TRAF with your banking information, new beneficiary designation(s) and confirmation that your former partner has been compensated for the pension amount owed to your former spouse/partner between the date of separation and the date the pension payment is actually divided.

Divide the net difference between two monthly pension payments

If you and your former partner each receive a monthly pension, you may choose to divide the net difference between both pension payments. You must each agree to this in writing. Contact TRAF for the documents required in this circumstance

Opt out of the pension division

If you and your former partner choose to opt out of the division of the pension, both parties must enter into a written agreement acknowledging that each of you has:

  • Received a statement from TRAF indicating the monthly pension earned during the relationship;
  • Received independent legal advice with respect to the effect of the agreement; and
  • Entered into the agreement voluntarily without duress, coercion or compulsion of any kind.

TRAF requires written confirmation that the above three conditions have been met, or you and your former partner may complete the Pension Benefits Opting Out Agreement available from our office.

If you opt out of pension division, your pension payment will continue according to the plan and integration option you chose at retirement and your former partner will continue to be the beneficiary. This means that your pension payment may be affected when you or your former spouse/partner passes away. A new beneficiary can be designated only if you selected Plan A or B.

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.