Life Changes

Separation and divorce

A pension earned in a registered pension plan by a pension plan member during their marriage or common-law relationship is considered part of “family property” in the event that the member’s spousal relationship ends.

Step 1 - Apply for a Statement of Family Law Value (FLV)Step 2 - OMERS Prepares Family Law ValuationStep 3 - Make a decision on dividing the pensionStep 4 - Apply for a transfer or division from the PlanTop reasons a Family Law Value application could be delayedMore information

There is no requirement to divide the pension - it’s up to you and your former spouse. Deciding whether or not to divide your pension assets is an important decision. Please seek independent legal advice from a family law lawyer. OMERS cannot provide you with legal or financial advice. In addition to the information below, Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) has posted a comprehensive guide. This guide can assist you in navigating this process.

Separation and Divorce Post-2011 Rules

Post-2011 rules apply if your court order, family arbitration award or domestic contract was signed or executed on or after January 1, 2012.

A pension earned in a registered pension plan by a pension plan member during their marriage or common-law relationship is considered part of “family property” in the event that the member’s spousal relationship ends. There is no requirement to divide the pension - it’s up to you and your former spouse. As part of the decision-making process, you may be required to obtain a valuation of your pension benefits, which involves the following four steps:

Step 1: Apply for a Statement of Family Law Value (FLV)

Deciding whether or not to divide your pension assets is an important decision. To begin this decision-making process, you may be required to obtain a valuation of your pension benefits (known as a Statement of Family Law Value).To apply for a Statement of FLV, please complete an Application for Family Law Value ( Family Law Form FL-1) on the FSRA website and send it to OMERS. Here’s how to complete Part B of the Family Law Form FL-1:

Address:

OMERS Administration Corporation

900-100 Adelaide St W

Toronto, ON

M5H 0E2

Check your FSRA forms carefully before sending to OMERS!

Print the Top 4 Reasons for Delays and use it as a checklist.

Make sure you’ve included all the required documents listed in Part G of  FSRA Application for Family Law Value Family Law Form FL-1. For example, most applications require a FSRA Family Law Form 1343 Appendix A - Joint Declaration of Period of Spousal Relationship. Make sure you also complete any required appendices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Step 2: OMERS Prepares Family Law Valuation

OMERS will prepare a Statement of Family Law Value Active Plan Member with a Defined Benefit Family Law Form FL-4B. This document details the value of pension assets accrued during the relationship and the maximum amount that OMERS can be directed to pay former spouse if your pension is divided.

Do you have more than one OMERS membership?

If you have separate memberships with different OMERS employers or even with the same employer, either at the same time for different jobs or for a different period of employment, a separate Statement of FLV will be provided for each membership. Each membership is identified by the final two digits in the member’s membership number (e.g., -01 or -02) found in Part C of the Statement of Family Law Value Active Plan Member with a Defined Benefit Family Law Form FL-4B. Each membership will have its own FLV as a separate piece of property for equalization purposes. The membership status may also be different (e.g., former member or retired member status) so the form types may be different.

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) Provision

  • The FLV does not include the value of a member’s AVC account; however, AVC account information must be reported on the Family Law Form for use in the equalization of net family property.

  • If a member wishes to use AVC funds for separation or divorce purposes, the member can withdraw up to 50% of their AVC account balance as at the FLV Date. This withdrawal can be made at any time during the year and is subject to the applicable AVC rules (e.g., locked-in amounts can be transferred only to another locked-in account).

  • To make an AVC withdrawal, the member must provide OMERS with a copy of a court order, family arbitration award or domestic contract that establishes the funds are required for an equalization payment.

  • OMERS does not transfer funds directly from a member’s AVC account to a former spouse – any payment is made directly to the member and the member must arrange the transfer to the former spouse.

Retirement Compensation Arrangement (RCA)

  • The RCA provides benefits for earnings that exceed the defined benefit limits under the  Income Tax Act.

  • The RCA is not governed under the Pension Benefits Act and it not included in the FLV.

  • A member may contact OMERS for an RCA pension estimate as at the FLV Date. With the consent of the member, OMERS will also provide the estimate to the member’s former spouse.

    The amount is an RCA benefit estimate only – the member or the former spouse will have to obtain their own independent valuation of the RCA benefit.

  • OMERS cannot make any payment from the RCA to a person other than to the member or a survivor. Therefore, the RCA benefit cannot be split at source, similar to the defined benefit pension.

  • It would be the member’s responsibility to pay their former spouse if the RCA is split.

Step 3: Make a decision on dividing the pension

Once you receive the Statement of Family Law Value from OMERS, you and your former spouse will need to decide if your pension will be divided.

If you decide to divide your pension, treatment of the pension amounts from the Plan must be clearly set out in the applicable marriage breakdown document (court order, family arbitration award or domestic contract). The document must indicate:

  • Family Law Valuation Date (FLV Date) that matches the date on the Statement of Family Law Value.

  • Division of the pension benefit expressed as either a specified amount or a percentage of the FLV reported on the Statement of Family Law Value. For members with more than one OMERS membership, this must be set out for each membership separately.

Also, if you have an Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC) account or you are entitled to a Retirement Compensation Arrangement (RCA) benefit, AVCs and RCA benefits must be addressed separately in the marriage breakdown document. For more about the RCA and AVCs see  Step 2: OMERS Calculates a Statement of FLV.

Frequently Asked Questions

Step 4: Apply for a transfer or division from the OMERS Plan

If you and your former spouse choose to divide your OMERS pension, your former spouse must apply for a transfer or division from the OMERS Plan and provide the supporting documentation. OMERS will transfer or divide the pension within 60 days of receiving a completed application.

Important!

Active Members

To apply to transfer the Family Law Value (FLV) from the Plan, send the following to OMERS:

1. A separation or divorce document (i.e., court order, domestic contract, family arbitration award) executed on or after January 1, 2012 that:

Important!

  • If any of the above items is missing, your application will be considered incomplete and the separation or divorce document will need to be amended or clarified at your expense.

  • If the start date of spousal relationship is included, it must match the start date listed in the Statement of Family Law Value.

  • For members with more than one OMERS membership, only a single separation or divorce document is needed to support the application, provided the membership amounts are listed separately.

2.  Spouse's Application for Transfer of a Lump Sum (Family Law Form FL-5) on the FSRA website.
  • Parts A to D completed by the former spouse of the Plan member.

  • Part E completed with the financial institution information or Part F completed with the pension plan information.

  • Part H signed and dated by the former spouse of the Plan member.

Retired Members

To apply to divide the Family Law Value (FLV) from the Plan, send the following to OMERS:

1. A marriage breakdown document (i.e., court order, domestic contract, family arbitration award) executed on or after January 1, 2012 that:
  • Is a certified document.

  • Clearly specifies the amount or percentage of the retired member's pension to be paid from OMERS to the former spouse (for each membership, if applicable).

  • States the FLV Date that corresponds to the date listed in the Statement of Family Law Value.

Important!

If the start date of spousal relationship is included, it must match the start date listed in the attached Statement of Family Law Value.

2. Spouse's Application to Divide a Retired Member's Pension (Family Law Form FL-6 on the FSRA website
  • Parts A to D completed by the former spouse of the retired member.

  • Part E signed and dated by the former spouse of the retired member.

Form 157 - Claim for Former Spouse Pension

Form 157 - Claim for Former Spouse Pension

Provides OMERS with your former spouse's personal, address and banking information.

The above form provides the personal and banking information for the direct deposit payment.

  • Sections 1 to 3 completed by the former spouse of the retired member.

  • Section 4 signed by the former spouse of the retired member and a witness.

  • Void cheque provided for the bank account reflected in section 3.

Optional

TD1 tax forms (federal and provincial)

The Canada Revenue Agency requires that OMERS withhold tax from OMERS monthly pension payment, where necessary.

  • If you do not complete the TD1 tax form(s), OMERS will deduct taxes after allowing the basic personal amount only.

Important

Note Regarding Arrears

Arrears represent the split pension that was not deducted from the FLV Date to the settlement month (plus interest). It is not payable in a lump sum manner; rather, it increases the deduction to the member’s pension payable to the former spouse over the remaining life of the member.

OMERS will include arrears in the division from the FLV Date to the month the division is administered unless the separation or divorce document specifies that the division of pension is not to include arrears.

If the separation or divorce document is silent or unclear, OMERS will calculate and include arrears. Language such as “the parties will divide the pension only on a go-forward basis” will not be considered sufficient to exclude arrears. This is required under the governing framework.

Once the pension, including arrears, has commenced payment, if further adjustments are required, OMERS will only adjust the division to exclude arrears on a prospective basis. Any payments already made will be up to the parties to manage. We would require an amendment or clarification to the separation or divorce document to make this change.

Top 4 reasons your Family Law Value application could be delayed

1. Start Date and Separation Date

  • Discrepancy between the Start Date and Separation Date on Family Law Form FL-1 vs. Appendix A - Joint Declaration of a Period of Spousal Relationship.

  • Incomplete Start Date and/or Separation Date (e.g., March 2000).

  • Proof of Start Date and/or Separation Date not included.

2. Amendments

  • Amendments to the Application for Family Law Value not initialed by the applicant.

3. Fees

  • The fee is missing or it's included when it's not required.

4. Missing information

  • Proof of age for the former spouse of the Plan member.

  • Direct contact information for each party.

FSRA Family Law Forms Reference Guide

Form Name

Who can fill out this form?

Description

Application for Family Law Value Form FL–1

-Plan member

-Former legally married spouse of the Plan member

Note: This form cannot be completed by a common-law non-OMERS member spouse.

Use this form to apply for a Statement of FLV.

Appendix A – Joint Declaration of Period of Spousal Relationship

-Plan member

-Former legally married spouse of the Plan member

-Common-law spouse

-Required if a certified copy of a court order, family arbitration award, domestic contract or marriage certificate has not been provided to OMERS.

-The form must be completed by both the OMERS member and former spouse.

-The start date of the spousal relationship and separation date (FLV Date) must match the dates on Statement of Family Law.

-If more than one FLV Date is required, submit Appendix B - Request for Two Family Law Values.

Statement of Family Law Value Former Plan Member Family Law Form FL-4B for Active at FLV Date

Statement of Family Law Value Former Plan Member Family Law Form FL-4D for Deferred at FLV Date

Statement of Family Law Value Former Plan Member Family Law Form FL-4E for Retired at FLV Date

-OMERS Plan administrator

-OMERS uses this form to provide the FLV calculation.

-Copies are sent to the OMERS member and former spouse.

Spouse's Application for Transfer of a Lump Sum Family Law Form FL-5

-Former legally married spouse of the Plan member

-Common-law spouse

-If the OMERS member was active or deferred on the FLV Date, the former spouse can submit this form to request the transfer of the assigned portion of the FLV.

-OMERS member involvement is not required.

-Supporting documentation must be provided by the former spouse.

Spouse's Application to Divide a Retired Member's Pension Family Law Form FL-6

-Former legally married spouse of the Plan member

-Common-law spouse

-If the OMERS member was retired on the FLV Date, the former spouse can submit this form to request OMERS to begin payment of their portion of the pension.

-OMERS member involvement is not required.

-Supporting documentation must be provided by the former spouse.

Post-retirement Waiver of Survivor Pension After Separation Family Law Form FL-8

-Former legally married spouse of the Plan member

-Common-law spouse

-The OMERS member's former spouse uses this form if they wish to waive their rights to survivor benefits.

-The former spouse must be the retirement date spouse.

-OMERS must provide the Statement of Family Law Value Retired Member with a Defined Benefit Pension Family Law Form before completing this form.

-The retired Member's pension has not yet been divided.

Glossary of Terms

Arrears Split pension amounts not deducted from a retired member’s pension payments from the FLV Date to the settlement month (plus interest) spread over the assumed lifetime of the member. Arrears increase the permanent deduction to the member’s pension payable to the former spouse over the remaining life of the member – they are not payable as a lump sum.

“Best Five” The annual average of the 60 consecutive months during which the member's contributory earnings were at their highest. It does not include any overtime pay or most lump sum payments. It may, however, include earnings from a period of service that was transferred-in from another registered pension plan.

If the member has less than five years of credited service, we use actual credited service to calculate average earnings.

Carve Out The estimated future FLV amount that will be deducted from a member’s OMERS pension. The estimate is updated annually and provided to the member on their Pension Report Supplement until retirement.

Equalization Payment A family law term that refers to the “payment” one spouse will owe the other to account for the difference between the net family property they accumulated during their spousal relationship. The FLV amount is used for both the equalization of net family property under the Ontario Family Law Act (FLA) and the division of pensions under the Ontario Pension Benefits Act (PBA).

Family Law Value (FLV) The calculation of the pension assets earned during the spousal period. The FLV represents the pension value that the parties will need to include in net family property.

If the pension is divided, the settlement from OMERS is limited to 50% of the FLV. Note: If arrears are included, a retired member's pension may be reduced beyond 50%. 

Family Law Valuation Date (FLV Date) The separation date agreed to by the parties for the purpose of dividing family property. For post-2012 rules, the FLV Date must be set out in the Application for Family Law Value and in the corresponding court order, family arbitration award or domestic contract (if applicable).

Former Spouse The non-member spouse of an OMERS member, whether or not the separation or divorce is officially completed. If both parties are OMERS members, the former spouse is the spouse referred to in Part D of the FSRA Application for Family Law Value Family Law Form FL-1.

Separation and Divorce Pre-2012 Rules

This information applies if a Plan member's court order, family arbitration award or domestic contract was signed or executed prior to January 1, 2012. (A separation agreement is a form of domestic contract.)

"Former spouse" refers to the non-member spouse whether or not the separation/divorce is officially complete. "Parties" refers to the member and the former spouse.

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