Q: My ex-husband and I are separated but still legally married. He is 37 years old and was just approved for CPP Disability. He also received a lump sum for back pay CPP disability payments. If I apply for the pension/CPP credit split do I get back pay in a lump sum now too.? I’m receiving Ontario Disability Support Payments.
Also, a few years ago he received a settlement of over $100,000 from an insurance company but used most of it and only has $30,000 left in his savings account now. My question is, when we legally separate or divorce in court, will they take these sums into consideration for the splitting of financial assets during the marriage? He was deemed catastrophic after an auto accident and is waiting for yet another settlement sum to come as well. Am I legally entitled to some of this money and who should I consult with to calculate what I am entitled to?
A: Ann, it seems to me, by your questions that you have not yet consulted a lawyer. There are two parts to a legal separation and divorce in Ontario. The separation agreement is a division of property that falls under provincial legislation and can either be agreed to by both of you through some sort of negotiation or can be resolved in a court of law by a judge.
The divorce is an annulment of the marriage and can be applied for, one year from the date of separation. It does not require grounds or agreement.
Your questions that center around CPP and disability payments are best answered by contacting the local CPP office in your neighbourhood. Generally speaking, disability and insurance payments are not considered family property for the purposes of a marital adjustment. Having said that, there is a provision for CPP benefits that accrued during the time of the marriage to be split at source. Once a separation agreement is executed, you can apply directly to the CPP board and they will do the appropriate split directly into your personal account. You must supply them with an executed copy of your agreement.
So in summary, you need to find a family lawyer who can guide you through the process and maybe even help you talk with the CPP office. That’s your best approach.
Debbie Hartzman is a Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Life Underwriter, and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst in Kingston, Ont. She is also the author of ‘Divorce is not easy, but it can be fair.’
MORE FROM A DIVORCE EXPERT:
- Meeting the financial requirements of marriage—during a separation
- I work harder than my ex. Why must I pay spousal support?
- This is why your separation agreement could be challenged
- Why you have to split work pensions when you divorce