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Working members

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

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If you’ve already started your pension, see Changing a spousal relationship – retired members for details.

Ending a spousal relationship

If you separate from your spouse prior to your retirement or pre-retirement death, your spouse will no longer be entitled to a survivor benefit under the plan.  However, your spouse may be entitled to a portion of your pension benefits through a settlement of your equalization obligations under family law. 

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 a working member (including those on a leave of absence or with a deferred pension), a lump-sum payout to your former spouse is the only settlement option available to you and your former spouse, if you choose to settle your equalization obligation with your pension. The lump sum can be transferred to a life income fund (LIF), locked-in retirement account (LIRA) or another registered pension plan of which your former spouse is a member.

You're required to complete several family law forms to calculate the value of your pension and transfer the lump sum 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

Remember to update your profile if your marital status changes.

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're both plan members, you're both required to apply to get the Family Law Value (FLV) 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 FLV, 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:

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.

A lump-sum payout to your former spouse is the only settlement option available to you and your former spouse, if you choose to settle your equalization obligation with your pension.

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 FLV (found in Part A of your Statement of Family Law Value).

Important

  • Under Ontario law, your former spouse cannot 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 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.

Step 4: Apply for a lump-sum transfer to a LIF, LIRA or another registered pension plan

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 Transfer the Family Law Value, FSCO* Form 5 (Instructions and Q&As)
  2. Select a transfer option (listed in Part E of your Statement of Family Law Value).
  3. Include the finalized court order, arbitration award, or separation agreement, which clearly identifies your former spouse's share of the FLV, a completed Direct Transfer Request form 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.

Important

You must complete and submit the Ontario Teachers' version of the Direct Transfer Request form. We won’t accept any other version of this form (i.e., from your bank, trust company, etc.).

We transfer the FLV as outlined in the finalized court order, arbitration award or separation agreement in a lump sum to your former spouse upon receiving the completed application with all required documents.

Ending a spousal relationship process