Splitting CPP with your ex-spouse
Here's how the process works if you're divorced or separated
Here's how the process works if you're divorced or separated
Q: I have been legally separated for 10 years but never divorced. Can I claim part of my ex-husband’s CPP for the last 10 years? I was married to him and lived with him for 23 years and had three of his children.
A: Rose, your question is about splitting Canadian Pension Plan (CPP). There can be a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about the splitting of CPP credits when a separation or divorce is involved. I often see CPP splitting overlooked during marriage breakups, which is unfortunate, since it can amount to a large difference in someone’s income at retirement.
First, understand that here are different rules and entitlement depending on the status and timing of the separation or divorce. The rules also vary, depending on whether you’re married, or in a common law relationship before the split happens.
But the short answer is this—if you are still married (no divorce decree) and your separation occurred on or after January 1, 1987, you qualify for a credit split if:
Please note that there is no time limit to apply, unless your spouse dies, in which case you must apply within 36 months of the date of his death. If you are common law, you have the above rules as well as a 48-month window to apply for CPP splitting–unless your ex is willing to waive this rule in writing.
The impact of the credit split can vary considerably, depending on your circumstances. Things like a general drop-out provision as well as the child-rearing provision can greatly impact your CPP benefits, so the credit splitting is a way to equalize this asset.
Generally speaking, it is best to contact the federal department that looks after this situation directly.
As long as you have all the appropriate documentation, they will run the numbers and divide the CPP according to the rules for you.
Even if you do not intend to draw your CPP for many years, I recommend that this be done soon after the separation agreement is signed so that it does not get missed or forgotten later on.
One of the benefits of working with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, such as myself, is that we will review this with you, and ensure that you have received the portion of CPP that you are entitled to. After all, the CPP is a pension like any other pension, and it is important that it be treated as an asset for equalization.
Having said this, I have noticed amongst my clients that many people have an attachment to their CPP and an aversion to splitting it. In fact, they will often threaten further action if the ex-spouse applies for the CPP split, which is why it is best to handle this during the negotiation stage of the separation agreement and written directly into it. That way, there are no surprises later on.
Ask a Divorce Expert: Leave your question for Debbie Hartzman »
Debbie Hartzmann is a certified divorce financial analyst and holds the following designations: CFP, CLU, CDFA.TEP, RRC and CEA
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When applying for CPP I also applied for the CCP credit split , and child drop out revision . I have no idea if I qualify for the split or child rearing drop out but thought I should apply just in case it is beneficial for me . Is it ok to apply even though I am not sure if I qualify or not ?
Thanks for the question. We invite you to email your question to [email protected], where it will be considered for a future response by one of our expert columnists. For personal advice, we suggest consulting with your financial institution or a qualified advisor.
How do i fined out when i get half of my ex’s cpp i would like to know please help me
My ex wife and I married in 1997, separated in 2013 and divorced in 2015 (all in Ontario).
We split the assets 50/50 and had a seperation agreement with a specific provision whereby the parties waive rights to CPP splitting and other pensions. The agreement was filed with the provincial court.
7 years after our divorce, I’m hit with a letter from Service Canada that my ex is requesting a CPP split.
I was the primary income earner during the marriage because she wanted to stay home and raise her kids (with other men). We never had children of our own.
In 2009, due to injuries I was forced out of the workforce. She bagan working small jobs and when she landed a career, she cheated and left to be with her married lover.
I started collecting CPP Disability in 2019 (4 years after our divorce).
I have received conflicting information on a CPP Split. Several representatives at Service Canada have told me to send them my seperation agreement (highlighting the paragraph with the specific provision on CPP splitting) which I did.
They all said that with this agreement, even though we married and divorced in Ontario (not BC, AB, SK, or QC), that Service Canada would uphold our agreement.
On the other hand, some legal experts say that a seperation agreement in Ontario doesn’t amount to a pile of beans when it comes to CPP Splitting.
At the time of our separation, the division of assets was based on that agreement and the fact that parties waived all rights to CPP splitting.
What is the law as there seems to be much confusion?
If CPP Splitting trumps the seperation agreement, what are my options?
Hi Joe, Thanks for your comment. Please email us at [email protected] and your question will be considered for response by one of our expert columnists.
In our final separation agreement my ex has declare and agreed to release from CPP claim and signed by the lawyer.
Now she’s threatening to claim for CPP saying she made a wrong decision emotionally .
Can she claim CPP after the final separation agreement where she already declare full release of it?
Due to the large volume of comments we receive, we regret that we are unable to respond directly to each one. We invite you to email your question to [email protected], where it will be considered for a future response by one of our expert columnists. For personal advice, we suggest consulting with your financial institution or a qualified advisor.