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Breaking up and the Québec Pension Plan - Find out more

In the Event of the Breakdown of Your Union

Plans concerned: The RREGOP and the PPMP


You and your spouse have decided to separate and you wonder about the possible impact of your separation on your public-sector pension plan?

Click on the link that fits your situation:

Partition of benefits accrued under a public-sector pension plan

These benefits are accrued under the member’s or beneficiary’s pension plan. If you are now or were once a member of a public-sector pension plan, or if you are a beneficiary, a separation can have an impact on your pension plan depending on your situation.

What you need to know

There are 3 types of unions recognized by RREGOP and the PPMP, each of them with their own definition:

  • Marriage
  • Civil union
  • De facto union

For more information, consult the types of unions recognized under public-sector pension plans.

Benefits accrued under a pension plan during marriage or civil union are part of the family patrimony. The value of these benefits can therefore be partitioned in the event of legal separation, divorce, annulment of marriage, payment of compensatory allowance, or dissolution or annulment of civil union, unless the spouses waive their rights or are not subject to the provisions of the family patrimony.

The rules of partition of the family patrimony do not apply to the following persons:

  • Spouses married before 1 July 1989 who, before 1 January 1991, and by way of a notarial deed, gave notice of their intention not to become subject to the provisions regarding family patrimony
  • Married spouses who stopped living together before 15 May 1989, and had settled the economic consequences of their separation in writing or otherwise, except if they resumed living together
  • Married spouses who applied for divorce, legal separation, annulment of marriage or payment of a compensatory allowance before 15 May 1989
  • Married or civil union spouses who waived their right to partition pursuant to the rules set out in the Civil Code of Quebec

The partition of benefits accrued under RREGOP and the PPMP can be requested once the de facto spouses stop living together.

Former de facto spouses must, within 12 months following the date on which they stop living together, agree to partition the benefits accrued under the pension plan.

This agreement must be signed by both spouses before a notary or lawyer or be made by joint sworn declaration.

De facto spouses who stopped living together after 31 August 1990 but before 1 January 2019, have 12 months as of 1 January 2019 to reach a written agreement on the partition of the benefits accrued.

How to partition the benefits accrued under the pension plan

If you wish to partition the benefits accrued under a public-sector pension plan, you and your spouse must:

  • Apply for a statement of benefits accrued under the pension plan.
  • Apply for payment of the value of benefits accrued under the pension plan.

Statement of benefits accrued under the pension plan

The Statement of Benefits Accrued is the only document that indicates the total value of the benefits accrued by a person under one or more pension plans administered by Retraite Québec and the value of the benefits accrued during a marriage or civil union. It also indicates the reduction applicable to your pension if the benefits are partitioned.

You can request a statement of accrued benefits from Retraite Québec as soon as you file proceedings for a legal separation, divorce or annulment of marriage, payment of compensatory allowance, or dissolution or annulment of civil union.

You can also request a statement if you have not filed proceedings but are in family mediation, or if you have filed a joint procedure for the dissolution or annulment of your civil union with a notary.

In all cases, to obtain the statement of accrued benefits, you, your spouse or your authorized representative (lawyer, notary or accredited mediator) may request it.

What to do

Fill out and submit the Application for a Statement of Benefits – Married or Civilly United Spouses (form RSP 388A). Retraite Québec will send you the statement of accrued benefits within 90 days of receiving the form and all the necessary documents.

Even you are or were a member of more than one public-sector pension plan, you only need to send in one application. However, if both you and your spouse are or were members of one or more plans, you must submit separate applications.

The value of the benefits indicated in the statement may differ depending on your situation on the date on which the benefits were valuated and whether you were eligible for a retirement pension at the time.

  • If the benefits consist in a refund on contributions, the value corresponds to all of the contributions you paid into the plan up until the date on which the benefits were valuated, plus interest if applicable.
  • If the benefits consist in a deferred pension, an immediate pension or a pension in payment, the value corresponds to the actuarial value of the entire pension accrued up until the date on which the benefits were valuated, as well as to the value of the benefits accrued during the marriage or civil union. If you began receiving a pension benefit before you entered into marriage or a civil union, the value of your pension is excluded from the partition, since it was not accrued during the union.

Before partitioning the benefits accrued under a public-sector pension plan, members and non-active members or beneficiaries must apply to Retraite Québec for a statement of accrued benefits. This application will also attest to your marital status.

What to do

Fill out and submit the Application for a Statement of Benefits – De Facto Spouses (form RSP-387A). Retraite Québec will send you the statement of accrued benefits within 90 days of receiving the form and all the necessary documents.

Important

Each pension plan for which you wish to obtain a statement of accrued benefits must be specified on the application form.

Payment of the value of benefits accrued under the pension plan

If you partition the value of the benefits accrued under the pension plan, you must apply to Retraite Québec for payment of the amounts.

A member, non-active member or beneficiary, spouse or authorized representative (notary, lawyer or accredited mediator) can apply for payment of the value of benefits accrued as soon as the judgment ordering the partition has been rendered.

What to do

Fill out the Application for Payment of the Value of Accrued Benefits Under a Public-Sector Pension Plan – Married, Civilly United or De Facto Spouses (form RSP-389A); and submit it with all the necessary documents as soon as the judgment is rendered or as soon as the civil union is dissolved by way of a notarial deed. You do not have to wait to retire.

In the case of a partition, the following percentage of the value of the benefits accrued under your pension plan could be granted to your spouse

The court generally grants 50% of the value of benefits accrued under the pension plan during the marriage or civil union. However, it can by law grant up to 50% of the total value of benefits accrued during the entire time of membership in the plan. If the value of benefits accrued under your pension plan is partitioned with your spouse, this will reduce the amount of the pension benefit you will receive later on.

If both spouses have benefits accrued under a public-sector pension plan and the value must be partitioned, you can ask for the partition of only 50% of the difference between the value of the benefits accrued under each plan. To do so, you must enclose a letter of authorization bearing the signatures of both spouses with your application.

De facto spouses who wish to partition the benefits accrued under a public-sector pension plan must send Retraite Québec an application for payment accompanied by the written agreement to partition. This agreement must be signed by both spouses before a notary or lawyer or be made by joint sworn declaration within 12 months following the date they stop living together.

A member, non-active member or beneficiary or spouse can apply for payment of the value of benefits accrued.

What to do

Fill out the Application for Payment of the Value of Accrued Benefits Under a Public-Sector Pension Plan – Married, Civilly United or De Facto Spouses (form RSP-389A); and submit it with all the necessary documents, including the written agreement to partition. You do not have to wait to retire.

In the case of a partition, the following percentage of the value of the benefits accrued under your pension plan could be granted to your spouse:

For de facto spouses, the partition cannot exceed 50% of the value of the benefits accrued during the entire time of membership in the plan.

Transfer of amounts allocated in the partition of accrued benefits

Only the amounts from benefits accrued under a registered pension plan (RPP) can be transferred to one of the financial vehicles listed below. Some pension plans are made up of an RPP and a supplementary benefits plan (SBP). The value that can be partitioned in an SBP cannot be transferred to a locked-in financial vehicle, but is payable by cheque with the applicable tax deductions.

Whether you were married, civilly united or de facto spouses, the amounts granted in the partition of benefits accrued under a pension plan must be transferred to one of the following financial vehicles:

  • Annuity contract
  • Locked-in retirement account (LIRA)
  • Life income fund (LIF)
  • Registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or registered retirement income fund (RRIF). The benefits can be transferred to an RRSP or RRIF only if you are eligible for a refund of contributions on the date of valuation of the benefits.
What to do

To transfer the amounts granted in the partition of accrued benefits, you must send us:

You must send these documents to Retraite Québec within 60 days following the date the letter confirming the amounts granted is mailed. If you do not provide these documents, Retraite Québec will have 120 days to transfer the amount to a financial institution with which it has reached an agreement.

Impact of the partition of benefits accrued under the pension plan

Once the benefits accrued under a public-sector pension plan have been partitioned, a reduction due to partition will be calculated and indicated in the file of the member, non-active member or beneficiary. This is a permanent reduction of the benefits you will receive or are already receiving if you are retired.

If you have not yet begun receiving your retirement pension:

  • The reduction will apply as of the date on which it comes into effect
  • The amount of the reduction will be adjusted upward or downward based on your age at the time you retire and the date on which the benefits are paid

If you are retired:

  • Your pension will be reduced as of the date on which the benefits are paid
Important

If you are retired on the date of valuation of the benefits, the amount of the reduction indicated on the statement of benefits will be adjusted upward by 0.5% for each month between the valuation date and the date the benefits are paid (the date on which the amounts are transferred). It is therefore important to apply for payment of benefits as soon as possible.

The valuation date of the benefits is one of the following 3 dates:

  1. The date on which one of the above-mentioned proceedings is introduced in the Superior Court of Québec
  2. The date on which you stop living together
  3. The date indicated in the notarized joint declaration settling the dissolution of the civil union in the case of civil union spouses who dissolve their union before a notary

In the case of a refund of contributions that occurs once the benefits accrued under a pension plan have already been partitioned, the portion granted to your former spouse will be subtracted from the refund.

Impact of a second partition of accrued benefits in the event of the breakdown of a second union

Your pension benefit was reduced permanently after the first breakdown, and will be reduced a second time. However, this second reduction will not exceed 50% of the value of the accrued benefits during the marriage or civil union or, in the case of a de facto union, 50% of the total value of the rights accrued under the plan. If you began receiving a pension benefit before you entered into your second union, the value of your pension is excluded from the partition, since it was not accrued during the union.

In the event of death

If the event of your death, if your divorce was granted, if your marriage was annulled, if your civil union was dissolved or annulled, or if you ended your de facto union, your former spouse is not entitled to any benefits. However, in some cases, if you did not have a new spouse, a death benefit may be paid to your former spouse as an heir to your estate.

If all or some of the value of the benefits accrued under your pension plan was included in the value to be partitioned following a legal separation, your former spouse is not entitled to any surviving spouse’s benefits unless you resumed living together.

Important

Spouses who are legally separated are still married under law. If you are legally separated at the time of death and you have a new de facto spouse, your de facto spouse will not be entitled to a survivor’s benefit. However, he or she may receive a death benefit as an heir to your estate.

If the value of the benefits accrued under your pension plan was not included in the value to be partitioned after the legal separation, your former spouse retains his or her status and is entitled to a surviving spouse’s benefit, even if you have a new de facto spouse.

Useful forms

Fill out these forms to request a statement of benefits:

Fill out these forms to request payment of accrued benefits:

Useful links

For more information about your public-sector pension plan

  • Public-sector pension plans > RREGOP
  • Public-sector pension plans > PPMP