Divorce or separation—Retired member—Canadian Armed Forces pensions
In the event that your marriage or common-law relationship ends, it is important to understand the possible impact on your pension and insurance benefits plans.
You may want to know
What do I need to do if my marriage or common-law relationship ends?
If your marriage has ended, submit your separation agreement or divorce decree to the Government of Canada Pension Centre. If your common-law relationship has ended, send the Government of Canada Pension Centre a letter to notify them.
Please note that if you participate in the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) plan, you may also want to review and, update your beneficiary designation by filling out a new Naming or Substitution of a Beneficiary (CF-FC 2196) form.
Is my former spouse or former common-law partner eligible for part of my pension?
Your former spouse or former common-law partner is eligible for part of your Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) pension only if a Canadian court order or written separation agreement between you and your former spouse or former common-law partner calls for a division of your CAF Pensions benefit.
The pension benefits accumulated during your marriage or common-law relationship may be divided when the relationship ends. This is done according to the terms of the Pension Benefits Division Act (PBDA). This does not mean that you must divide your pension benefit. What happens will depend on your personal situation. For example, if your former spouse or former common-law partner has a pension of similar value or other assets that balance out your pension, your pension may not be affected at all.
Eligible former spouses and former common-law partners include:
- spouses who have divorced, or spouses who have been living separately and apart for at least one year and
- common-law partners (same sex or opposite sex) who have lived in a common-law relationship for a minimum of one year and who have been living separately and apart for at least one year
What steps do I take to have my pension divided?
Estimate the value
You or your former spouse or former common-law partner must obtain an estimate of his or her entitlement by completing the Request for Pension Benefits Division Information with respect to a Canadian Forces Superannuation Act Pension in Accordance with the Pension Benefits Division Act (CF-FC 2488) form and sending it to the Government of Canada Pension Centre. The Government of Canada Pension Centre will prepare a PBDA Pension Benefits Report, advising you of the estimated division amount. Only you will receive information regarding the amount of your benefit reduction.
Apply for the division of pension benefits
In order for a division under the PBDA to occur, the parties involved must either be divorced or separated for at least one year, and a Canadian court order must be issued stating that the pension is to be divided.
If there is a Canadian court order or a written agreement between you and your former spouse or former common-law partner that clearly states how to divide your pension, either of you may apply for a division by completing the Application for Division of Pension of a Canadian Forces Superannuation Act Pension Benefits in Accordance with the Pension Benefits Division Act (CF-FC 2486) form.
If the exact dates (dd/mm/yyyy) of the co-habitation period are not specified in the order or agreement, you must also complete and return the Statutory Declaration in the matter of an application of Pension Division Benefits (CF-FC 2484) form.
Send your application and statutory declaration to the Government of Canada Pension Centre, accompanied by either an original or a certified copy of:
- the Canadian court order or
- the written spousal agreement
The agreement or court order must clearly state how to divide your pension. The resulting pension division - your reduction and your former spouse's or former common-law partner's benefit – is based on the agreement or court order.
These steps are described in further detail in the Division of pension benefits package.
Contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre if you have questions about the division of your pension.
Can I object to the division?
Yes. You will be notified of any application made to divide your benefits, after which you can file an objection with the Minister of National Defence within 90 days of the notice of application being sent out. Please not that the grounds for an objection are very specific. You may object if:
- The court order or spousal agreement has been changed or is no longer valid
- The terms of the court order or spousal agreement have been satisfied, or are being satisfied, by some other means or
- The court order has been appealed or the terms of the spousal agreement are being challenged in court
Can I refuse to divide my pension?
If a Canadian court orders the division, your pension must be divided in accordance with the Pension Benefits Division Act (PBDA).
Is there a limit to how much my former spouse or former common-law partner can receive?
Yes. Your former spouse or former common-law partner can receive a maximum of 50% of the total value of your pension benefit.
Is my buy-back included in the estimate of the value of my pension?
Yes, any prior service that you bought back during your spousal or common-law relationship is proportionally included in the value of your pension.
What happens if the division is approved?
If the division is approved, a lump-sum payment representing the spousal share of the value of the benefits subject to division will be transferred to either a locked-in retirement savings vehicle or to a financial institution for the purchase of a life annuity as chosen by your former partner. The reduction cannot be greater than 50% of your pension.
For more information about what happens when the division is approved, visit the Division of pension benefits package.
What happens to my pension after the division?
After the request to divide your pension has been approved, it will be reduced to reflect the division. The reduction of your pension is for life and you cannot buy back the portion of the pension that was paid out.
Can my former spouse or former common-law partner choose to receive a Canadian Armed Forces pension?
No. Your former spouse or former common-law partner does not have the option of receiving a CAF pension. The lump sum value of the divided pension benefit must be transferred to either a locked-in retirement plan or a financial institution to purchase a pension, in accordance with the Pension Benefits Division Act (PBDA).
What is the Garnishment, Attachment, and Pension Diversion Act?
The Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act (GAPDA) allows for the diversion of pensions to satisfy support, alimony or maintenance orders. This means that a portion of your pension will be diverted (paid) to the recipient named in the order.
If a court order has been issued in Canada, ordering a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) pension recipient to pay spousal and/or child support, that court order can be enforced in part, or in whole, through the CAF pension.
For detailed information about GAPDA, visit the Family support payments page.
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