Your pension can be one of your most valuable assets. The following section details what you need to know if your spousal relationship changes after you have retired. This includes entering a new spousal relationship (such as getting married, a new common law relationship, or domestic partnership), ending a spousal relationship, or getting a divorce.
If you die after you retire, the Plan text states that a surviving spouse is a person who:
a. became the retiree’s spouse before the retiree retired, or
b. became the retiree’s spouse at least 3 years before the retiree’s death (period of cohabitation counts towards the 3 years)
Your spouse can include:
- A legally married spouse
- A registered domestic partnership
- A common law relationship:
A common law partner is defined as a person who cohabits in a conjugal relationship with a member for at least:
- three years, if either of them are currently legally married; or
- one year, if neither of them are married and the relationship began at least one year prior to the member’s retirement.
If a Plan member has a common law spouse or is in a domestic partnership, but still legally married to a former spouse, a special rule applies to divide the survivor pension between two spouses.
New spousal relationship
If you enter into a new spousal relationship, be sure to inform us of your spouse’s name, Social Insurance Number (SIN), date of birth (provide copy of your spouse’s birth certificate or passport), and a copy of your Marriage Certificate or Declaration of Domestic Partnership (if applicable).
A spousal relationship breakdown
When a spousal relationship breaks down or divorce occurs, the division of your pension benefit is not automatic. In order for us to complete a division of your pension benefit, you must provide us with a copy of the court order from the Supreme Court (see Court Order Wording example).
For a breakdown of domestic partnership please forward a copy of the Termination of Domestic Partnership Certificate.
Your former spouse, registered domestic partnership, or common law partner is entitled to receive up to one half of the pension benefit earned during the period of marriage. The period of marriage must be defined in the court order. It begins at the date of marriage or cohabitation and ends at the date of separation. If you are married it is important to note that a legal separation is not sufficient to split pension assets, this can only be initiated upon divorce.
If the relationship ends after you have retired, payment is in the form of a pension.
It is important for you to notify us of any changes to your spousal relationship. You will need to send us a completed Member Information Form, you can find this form on our website at the following link: www.nspssp.ca/publicservice/members/forms