Relationship Breakdown

Important Notice:

Beginning January 1, 2020, common-law partners are permitted to submit Family Property Orders. If you are seeking a division of pension benefits as a common-law partner, you must meet the definition of a pension partner.

If your relationship ends, your pension benefit may be divided between you and your pension partner. This requires a family property order (FPO) to be filed with MEPP. An FPO will provide the details as to when and how your MEPP benefit is to be divided, if at all. You should consult your legal counsel about how to get and file an FPO. You can also send a draft copy of the order to MEPP for review before submitting it, which can save you time and money if it needs to be changed. Please note, an FPO is the only acceptable document to divide a pension. A family property agreement is not acceptable.

If you and your pension partner separate, please let Member Services know as soon as possible so that they can provide you with what you need to update your pension partner information.

Please note: completing a pre-retirement death benefit waiver does not prevent your pension partner from seeking a division of your pension.

There are several things to know when it comes to your pension and a divorce or separation.

If you separate or divorce, it is very important that you contact us as soon as possible.

It is suggested that you find an independent, professional representative who can give you legal advice about pension division and marital breakdown. You and your representative can also view detailed information about this topic here.

Pensions are considered family property which can be divided. It is very important to note that not every separation or divorce results in a member's pension being divided. You and your former partner can agree that other assets of equal value can cover anything owed, or you and your partner might agree not to divide anything at all, which would leave your MEPP pension unaffected.

In order to divide a MEPP pension, we require a court-certified family property order (FPO) that complies with the Plan rules. Please provide us with a draft order to review so we can make sure that we can follow the terms of the order.

Whatever you and your former partner decide to do regarding your MEPP pension, please let us know as soon as possible.

Total Entitlement Estimate

In a separation or divorce, it may be necessary to determine the value of a member's pension. You can write to us to request a Total Entitlement estimate which is a statement of the value of the MEPP pension benefit.

The non-member partner can also request this estimate, and the information is always sent to both parties. Contact us for information about the request and how to submit it.

Written requests must have the following information:

  • the signature of the person requesting the estimate;
  • the full names, current addresses, and current phone numbers of both the MEPP member and the partner;
  • an estimated date for the end of joint accrual (this is normally the time the parties were married or living together). The end date must be either a date before the request, or the date of the request;
  • if the request is from, or is to go to, a MEPP member's lawyer, we require an authorization signed by the member allowing us to share the estimate with that lawyer; and
  • if the written request is from, or is to go to, a non-member partner's lawyer, the non-member partner must sign an authorization allowing us to share the estimate with that lawyer.

Adult Interdependent Partners:

Adult interdependent partners who do not otherwise meet the definition of pension partner are not eligible for a division of pension benefits. However, new rules allow the member adult interdependent partner to request information about the value of their pension benefit. These statements can be used to demonstrate the pension accrued during the period of interdependence. To request a statement, the member must submit a written request with the following information:

  • the signature of the member;
  • the full name, current address, and current phone number of the member;
  • a beginning and end date of the period of interdependence. The end date must be either a date before the request, or the date of the request; and
  • if the request is from, or is to go to, a member's lawyer, we require an authorization signed by the member allowing us to share the estimate with that lawyer.

Please note, only the member adult interdependent partner may request this statement. A copy will not be provided to the member’s adult interdependent partner.

Pre-Retirement Relationship Breakdown

  • Non-vested member: Partner’s share is a lump-sum payout of a portion of the member's contributions with interest. This can be paid as taxable cash or transferred to an RRSP.
  • Vested member: Partner receives a share of the commuted value of the pension which must be transferred to a Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA).

Delayed Division

If a member is vested at the end of the period of joint accrual and is also within 10 years of turning 65 years of age, the non-member partner can choose to delay the calculation and distribution of the value of the pension benefits until the member:

  • begins the MEPP pension;
  • triggers a benefit payment by leaving the Plan;
  • completes a transfer to another pension plan; or
  • passes away.

This delayed division must be included in the FPO.

Post-Retirement Marriage Breakdown

If the non-member partner is entitled to division of monthly pension payments, these payments will be split according to the division outlined in the FPO. The spouse or partner’s share is limited to 50 per cent. The funds will be paid monthly and directly to the non-member partner. There is no option for a lump-sum payment.

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