We’re married. What happens to our pensions if we separate or divorce?
Question & AnswerWe’re married. What happens to our pensions if we separate or divorce?
2. Get the pension valued
Ontario regulated plans
Before January 1, 2012, there was no standard form that you could use to get the pension valued. So you had to hire someone like an actuary to value the pension.
After January 1, 2012, you use a standard form to ask the of an Ontario regulated pension plan to value a pension, unless you have a , award, or that was made before January 1, 2012.
A pension plan member or their partner can ask for the pension to be valued by filling out a Form 1 – Application for Family Law Value. You may also need to fill out other forms.
If you need help filling out the form, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario has a Family Law Forms page that has a User Guide for each form and Q&As for some of them. Form 1 also has a video tutorial.
Part E of Form 1 asks for a “Starting Date of Spousal Relationship (Married or Common-Law)” of your spousal relationship. This is the date you got married unless you have a court order, arbitration award, or agreement with a different date. Then an earlier date can be used. But this cannot be earlier than the date you started living together before you were married.
Part F of Form 1 asks for a “Separation Date (Family Law Valuation Date)”. This is usually the date of separation. You can provide one date or, if you and your married partner don't agree on the date, you can provide 2 potential dates. If you provide 2 dates, then you and your partner both need to fill out some of Form 1. Your application is then treated like two applications, with each application using a different date.
The plan administrator can charge a fee for valuing the pension. Depending on the type of plan, they can charge from up to $200 to $800. If you and your partner have asked for 2 valuations based on 2 different dates of separation, you and your partner may both be charged a fee.
If you have a court case that includes a property claim, you must apply to get your pension valued within 30 days of completing your .
After the plan administrator receives the completed application and the fee, if any, they have 60 days to provide a “Statement of Family Law Value” form. This form is sent to both partners and gives the value of the pension. If you and your partner have asked for 2 valuation based on 2 different dates of separation, you get 2 “Statement of Family Law Value” forms.
Federal public service plans or federally regulated plans
Each pension plan is unique. You may be able to ask the pension administrator to provide you with an estimate. You can also hire a financial professional, usually called an “actuary”, to value the pension.