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Marriage/Common-Law Breakdown



If you and your partner (married or common-law) have separated, it is important to contact TRAF promptly for information on how your pension is affected.

If the separation is permanent, your former partner may be entitled to up to 50% of the monthly pension earned from the date the relationship began to the date of separation.

We encourage you to seek legal advice regarding your family law entitlements, and financial advice regarding the implications of a relationship breakdown to your pension. Consult your lawyer to ensure you have the required documentation.

How to start

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. You and your former partner will each receive a statement outlining your 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.

Impact of separation date

If your separation date is prior to October 1, 2021, the available options include not dividing the pension, dividing 50% of the pension, or potentially dividing the net difference between your and your former partner's pension values.

If your separation date is on or after October 1, 2021, there is additional flexibility as you and your partner may decide to not divide the pension or specify the percentage to be divided, up to a maximum of 50%.

Further details on the rules for separations occurring before and on or after October 1, 2021, are found below.

Separation before October 1, 2021

The following settlement options are available to you and your former partner if your separation date is prior to October 1, 2021:

Divide the monthly pension payments

You and your former partner may decide to divide 50% of the monthly pension.

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 and your former partner 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 pension or 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 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 each receive a monthly pension, you and your former partner may choose to divide the net difference between the monthly pensions. You must each agree to this in writing and provide TRAF with the required documents, which may include a court order or written agreement.

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 and your former partner 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.

Separation on or after October 1, 2021

The following settlement options are available to you and your former partner if your separation date is on or after October 1, 2021:

Divide up to 50% of the monthly pension payments

You and your partner may decide to specify the percentage of the monthly pension to be divided, up to a maximum of 50%.

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 and your former partner 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 pension or family property.  The written agreement or court order must:

  • Specify the percentage of the pension to be paid on division, to a maximum of 50%;
  • Include the date the relationship began and the date of separation; and
  • Be filed with TRAF.

If any of the above conditions are not met, we cannot divide the pension.

You must also 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 partner between the date of separation and the date the pension payment is actually divided.

Not divide the monthly pension payments

You and your former partner do not have to divide your pension. The written agreement or court order may state that your former partner is not entitled to any percentage of the pension. TRAF will require a copy of this agreement.

If you choose to not divide the pension, 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.

Before agreeing to a division of less than 50% of the value of the pension, your former partner should seek legal advice with respect to their family law entitlements and financial advice as to the implications of agreeing to receive less than a 50% share of the pension.

Other important information

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.

Prenuptial agreements

A prenuptial or cohabitation agreement may impact the treatment of your pension on relationship breakdown. If you entered into this type of agreement, please provide a copy to our office so we can determine if your pension will be affected.