Your pension may represent a significant part of your family property
Many people go through a breakdown in their marriage or common-law relationship. If this applies to you, it is important to keep in mind that your pension may represent a significant part of the family property you've built during your relationship with your former spouse.
If your jurisdiction of employment is Ontario and you and your spouse/former spouse were married, Ontario law requires that the value of the pension you earned during your time together be included in the calculation of net family property. There is no requirement to divide the pension, only to consider its value in the division of all family property.
For common-law spouses, there is no requirement under Ontario family law to divide net family property (including the value of any pension assets) on breakdown of their spousal relationship. You may however decide to do so. Note that if you were married and separated after retirement, the spouse at retirement retains the right to a survivor pension.
If your jurisdiction of employment is not Ontario, the Ontario Family Law Act does not apply to you. Contact the CAAT Pension Plan directly for more information.
Pension law and family law are complex, and they interact in a number of ways in the case of spousal relationship breakdown. As a result, it is strongly recommended to obtain advice from a lawyer with experience in this area before making any decisions regarding the division of your pension.
In Ontario, the rules which apply to new cases as well as past cases without a pre-2012 legal agreement providing for the division of pension include:
FSRA has created a guide to assist members and their former spouses on the prescribed process. For assistance on the prescribed process, refer to FSRA's Pensions and Marriage Breakdown - a guide for members and their spouses.
a) Either you or your legally married former spouse may request the Family Law Value of the pension you earned during your time together by filing an application with the Plan using the FSRA Family Law Form 1 – Application for Family Law Value. In the case of common-law relationships, only the member and not the common-law former spouse can file the application.
b) The following forms will need to be included with the application (Form 1) if the reasons listed apply to your situation:
FSRA Family Law Form 2 – Joint Declaration of Period of Spousal Relationship
FSRA Family Law Form 3 – Contact Person Authorization
Go to the FSRA website to access the forms for a separation or divorce.
To avoid delays, please make sure your application form is complete and all required documents are included.
Your application form cannot be processed without the following information:
Your application form cannot be processed without the following required documents:
Within 60 days of receiving your completed application, we will provide both you and your spouse/former spouse (married or common-law) with copies of the Statement of Family Law Value of your CAAT pension. If your application is incomplete, we will request the missing information from you and/or your spouse/former spouse before issuing the Statement of Family Law Value.
Within 60 days of receiving your completed application, we will provide both you and your former spouse (married or common-law) with copies of the Statement of Family Law Value of your CAAT pension. If your application was incomplete, we will request the missing information from you and/or your former spouse before issuing the Statement of Family Law Value.
The Family Law Value of your pension is the value of the pension you built during your relationship with your former spouse. The calculations for determining it are set out in pension law, and for defined benefit plans such as the CAAT Pension Plan these calculations can be complex.
You and your former spouse determine how the Family Law Value of your pension is to be treated within the context of all of your family property. If you agree that your pension will be divided, the maximum amount that your former spouse can receive is 50 per cent of the Family Law Value of your pension.
You then get a court order, enter into a domestic contract or seek a family arbitration award that spells out the agreement you have reached. Advise the CAAT Plan of the treatment of the Family Law Value of your pension in the next step.
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