How Do I Divide Our CPP Pensions after We're Divorced?

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

Properly speaking, Canada Pension Plans are equalized, not divided, and what's being equalized are the spouses' pensionable credits.

CPP credits accumulate from the mandatory CPP payroll deductions taken from almost everyone's employment income. These credits build up over the years and are used by the CPP people in Ottawa to calculate the amount of the monthly CPP benefit payments each person will begin to receive when they reach the age of 65, or earlier, if they elect to take their pensions earlier, or later, if they elect to take them later.

Divorced married spouses and separated unmarried spouses may apply to equalize their CPP credits. British Columbia is one of the few provinces that allow couples to not equalize their CPP credits. However, if you decide not to equalize your CPP credits you must have either a court orderA mandatory direction of the court, binding and enforceable upon the parties to a court proceeding. An "interim order" is a temporary order made following the hearing of an interim application. A "final order" is a permanent order, made following the trial of the court proceeding or the parties' settlement, following which the only recourse open to a dissatisfied party is to appeal. See "appeal," "consent order," "decision" and "declaration." or a separation agreementA contract intended to resolve all or some of the legal issues arising from the breakdown of a relationship and intended to guide the parties in their dealings with one another thereafter. A typical separation agreement is signed following a settlement reached through negotiations and deals with issues including guardianship, parenting arrangements, contact, support, the division of property and the division of debt. See "family law agreements." that expressly states that the credits won't be equalized. If there's no documentation of an agreement not to equalize CPP credits, either former spouseUnder the ''Divorce Act'', either of two people who are married to one another, whether of the same or opposite genders. Under the ''Family Law Act'', married spouses, unmarried parties who have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years, and, for all purposes of the act other than the division of property or debt, unmarried parties who have lived together for less than two years but have had a child together. See "marriage" and "marriage-like relationship." can apply for an equalization without the consent of the other spouse. It's automatic.

The amount of the CPP credits that will be equalized is the amount each spouse accumulated during their relationship after CPP has performed certain adjustments to account for things like periods out of the workforce on parental leave. The total amount of these credits is divided between each spouse. For people who have had a lower income than their former spouse, the equalization of CPP credits will increase the amount of the CPP pension they will eventually receive.

To apply for the equalization of your CPP credits, apply to Service Canada. You can reach Service Canada at:


For further information about the division of propertySomething which can be owned. See "chattels" and "real property." when spouses break up, you may wish to review the chapter Property & Debt in Family Law Matters.

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Gayle Raphanel, July 5, 2017.
Creativecommonssmall.png JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.
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