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Retired members

If you’re retired when you change your spousal relationship, you should be aware of how this may impact your pension benefits.

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If you haven’t started your pension yet, see Changing a spousal relationship – working members for details.

Ending a spousal relationship

If you separate from or divorce your spouse after retirement, your spouse at the time we make your first pension payment, continues to be entitled to a survivor benefit on your death unless they waive this benefit.

Your former spouse may also become entitled to the division of your pension through a settlement of your equalization obligations under family law. However, the division of your pension is neither mandatory nor automatic.

If you need to value your pension for the calculation of net family property, apply to us for a Statement of Family Law Value. There's no need to hire an external actuary.

As you have already received your first pension payment, the division of pension is the only settlement option available to you and your spouse, if you choose to settle your equalization obligation with your pension.

You're required to complete several family law forms to calculate the value of your pension and divide it should you decide to do so. These forms are made available by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA), which regulates financial services and pensions, including family law matters as they relate to pensions. FSRA replaced the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO). 

FSRA has a guide which may help you through this process, Pensions and Marriage Breakdown – a Guide for Members and their Spouses. This guide provides an overview of valuing and dividing members’ pensions upon marriage breakdown. You can also visit www.fsco.gov.on.ca to obtain the family law forms and detailed instructions.

We've also provided the links to each of the family law forms, as well as their Instructions and Q&As, in our step-by-step instructions below.

When completing the application process, please note:

  • We don't charge a fee for calculating your Family Law Value (Step 1)

  • We only require copies of supporting documentation, they don't need to be certified

Valuing and dividing your pension

If you're considering dividing your pension, you'll need to take the following steps:

Step 1: Apply for a Statement of Family Law Value

If you're married, either you or your spouse can apply for this statement. If you're in a common-law relationship, only you can apply. If you are both plan members, you are both required to apply to get the Family Law Value for each pension.

 Here's how to apply:

  1. Complete the mandatory Application for Family Law Value, FSCO* Form 1 (Instructions and Q&As)

  2. If you don't have proof of the start and/or separation dates of your spousal relationship, complete a Joint Declaration of Period of Spousal Relationship, FSCO* Form 2 (Instructions and Q&As)

  3. If you'd like to authorize a third party who we may contact regarding your Family Law Value, complete a Contact Person Authorization, FSCO* Form 3 (Instructions and Q&As)

  4. Send us Form 1 and if applicable, Forms 2 and/or 3 with all required documentation.

* FSCO has been replaced by FSRA. We’ll refer to these as FSCO forms until FSRA issues new forms.

We send statements to both spouses upon receiving the completed application with all required supporting documents.

Here's how to complete the Pension Plan Information section (Part A or B) of all forms:

Pension Plan Information Form This is an example of a filled in pension plan information form

Important

  • Forms must be signed in the presence of a witness who is at least 18 years of age. Your spouse/former spouse can't be a witness. To verify his or her presence, your witness must sign and date forms on the same date as you. Your witness must also print his or her name on the forms and provide his or her contact information.
  • The Family Law Valuation (FLV) Date must be specified in your court order, family arbitration award or domestic contract. The FLV date must match the FLV date identified on your Statement of Family Law Value.
  • If you and/or your former spouse wish to authorize a lawyer or someone else to communicate with and receive information from us on your or your former spouse's behalf, we must receive a completed Contact Person Authorization with your application.

Step 2: Decide if you're using your pension to settle your equalization obligation

Once you've received your Statement of Family Law Value, consult your family lawyer and/or financial advisor for professional advice when making this decision.

Example of pension division between plan member and former spouse

The division of your pension begins once the Family Law Valuation (FLV) process is complete. This process may take several months, and your former spouse is entitled to retroactive payments to account for the time that passed from your FLV date to when your pension is divided.

These retroactive payments are paid to your former spouse, in addition to the amount outlined in the separation agreement, court order or arbitration award. Your pension will be reduced accordingly.

The following example shows how payments to a former spouse are calculated to account for the retroactive payments between the FLV date and the date the pension division begins.

Important dates

  • FLV date: January 2016
  • Pension division start date: June 2016
Retroactive payment from FLV date to pension division date
Gross monthly pension to former spouse as outlined in separation agreement $1,200/month
Five retroactive payments (Jan – May 2016 inclusive) between FLV date to pension division start date in June 2016 $1,200 x 5 months = $6,000*
Total retroactive payments actuarially converted to a monthly adjustment $6,000* converted to an adjustment of $25/month

*plus interest

Monthly payment as of June 2016
Former spouse: (Spousal payment + retroactive payment) – income tax** ($1,200 + $25) – income tax**
Plan member: Monthly pension – (spousal payment + retroactive payment) – income tax – other deductions Monthly pension – ($1,200 + $25) – income tax – other deductions

**Assumes pension payment is former spouse's sole source of income

Spousal waivers

Under FSRA's pension valuation and division rules, your former spouse can waive his/her right to the joint and survivor pension if it's specified in your settlement agreement. To do this, your former spouse must complete Post-retirement Waiver of Joint and Survivor Pension by the Former Spouse of a Retired Member on Spousal Relationship Breakdown (FSCO Form 8).

While you and your former spouse may have personal reasons for wanting to agree to the waiver, please be aware that your gross pension amount will only increase by an amount equal to any actuarial reduction currently applied to provide a survivor pension greater than 50%, and the reduction currently applied to provide the 10-year pension guarantee. This increase will apply to your pension payments beginning the month after we receive the waiver.

Step 3: Finalize your separation agreement with your family lawyer

This step only applies if you're using your pension to settle an equalization obligation.

This agreement should clearly identify your former spouse's share of the Family Law Value (found in Part A of your Statement of Family Law Value).

Important

  • Under Ontario law, your former spouse can't receive more than 50% of the pension benefit you earned during the spousal relationship, as set out in your Statement of Family Law Value.
  • The FLV date must be specified in your court order, family arbitration award or domestic contract. The FLV date must match the FLV date identified on your Statement of Family Law Value.

Step 4: Apply for a Division of Pension in Pay

This step only applies if you're using your pension to settle an equalization obligation.

Your former spouse must apply to us directly.

Here's how to apply:

  1. Complete the Application to Divide a Retired Member's Pension, FSCO* Form 6 (Instructions and Q&As)
  2. Select a division of pension option (listed in Part E of your Statement of Family Law Value).
  3. Include the finalized court order, arbitration award, or separation agreement, which should clearly indicate the amount of each pension installment your former spouse is entitled to, and all other required documents with the application.

* FSCO has been replaced by FSRA. We’ll refer to these as FSCO forms until FSRA issues new forms.

We divide and adjust your pension as outlined in the finalized court order, arbitration award, or separation agreement upon receiving the completed application with all required documents.

Ending a spousal relationship process