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Relationship Breakdown

If there is any discrepancy between this information and the Plan, the provisions of the Teachers' Pension Plans Act and its regulations will determine entitlements and options available.

ATRF administers pension division orders in accordance with the legislation in force at the time the order was granted: 

  • Matrimonial Property Orders (MPOs) are orders granted up to December 31, 2019. 
  • Family Property Orders (FPOs) are orders granted on or after January 1, 2020. 

Prior to January 1, 2020, the Matrimonial Property Act restricted the division of pensions on relationship breakdown to members who were legally married and had since separated or divorced. Individuals who were in a common-law relationship were not able to obtain an MPO. Therefore, ATRF could not divide a member’s entitlement to benefits at source under the Alberta Teachers’ Pension Plans (the plans). 

Effective January 1, 2020, the Matrimonial Property Act changed to the Family Property Act. Common-law couples who meet the plans’ definition of pension partner, and separated on or after January 1, 2020, are now able to obtain an FPO and divide a member’s entitlements under the plans. There has been no change to married members’ access to FPOs or the options available to them. 

Family Property Orders

There are some prerequisites before ATRF can divide a benefit entitlement pursuant to an FPO:

  • The FPO must be in accordance with the Family Property Act.
  • The FPO must provide for a lump-sum payment division unless the pension is already in pay.
  • Only benefit entitlements earned during the period of joint accrual can be divided. The period of joint accrual is generally the period during which the parties were married or in a common-law relationship and while the member was a participant of the plans. 
  • ATRF will require a court-filed and court-certified copy of an FPO. 

The form of FPO that is required to divide a pension depends on whether the member was vested and has sufficient pensionable service to be eligible for a pension from the plans. To request a valuation of the benefit entitlement and to confirm the member’s status in the plans, complete and return the Request for Statement of Benefit Entitlement form. Please note that if the incorrect form of FPO is obtained, ATRF may not be able to administer the division. ATRF will work with members to ensure the correct form of FPO is obtained and can provide input into a whether draft order is administrable prior to attendance at court.

Blank Family Property Orders

  1. Member was not vested at the end date of the Period of Joint Accrual.
    • Option A1: Former pension partner has elected a cash payment with income tax deducted; or
    • Option A2: Former pension partner has elected to transfer the payment directly to a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) with no income tax deducted.
  2. Member was vested at the end date of the Period of Joint Accrual but less than 55.
    • Option B: Former pension partner’s payment must be transferred to a locked-in retirement account (LIRA).
  3. Member was vested at the end date of the Period of Joint Accrual and age 55 or older.
    • Option C1: Former pension partner has elected an immediate payout to a LIRA; or
    • Option C2: Former pension partner has elected to delay the transfer to a LIRA until the earliest of the member’s retirement, reciprocal transfer to another pension plan or death.
  4. Member’s pension is already being paid.
    • Option F: Former pension partner to receive a portion of the member’s monthly pension.

You can get more details in our Division of Pension on Relationship Breakdown guide, or you can get complete information in the current regulations.

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