Pensions and marital breakdowns: information for lawyers

Lawyers are often asked to advise clients about dividing a pension benefit between a plan member and a former spouse. Learn more about the information and documents we need to administer a pension following a relationship breakdown.

A checklist of what you need to do

In the case of a separation or divorce, the plan member, their former spouse and/or the legal counsel can take the following actions:

□ Submit an authorization form if they wish the corporation to release information to a third party, including legal counsel

□ Provide tools to help value the pension

□ Ensure the complete, signed separation agreement or registered court order outlines how the pension is to be divided between the member and the former spouse. The document should address all contingencies for dividing a pension, such as:

□ future accruals (e.g., what happens if the plan member terminates employment before the agreed-upon retirement date)
□ the plan member buying additional service or going on disability leave
□ the plan member dying before retirement (if a different proportionate share is agreed upon in the event of a death)
□ transfers of service to other pension plans

□ Submit proof-of-age documents

□ Submit any other relevant forms and administration fees

□ Ensure contact information for the plan member and the former spouse is current and up to date