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Family law: Dividing CPP benefits

Those who are married or have been living in a common law relationship can split their Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions they made while living together. Family law rules in Canada set out what can and cannot be shared in a divorce or separation situation, and CPP credit splitting is a reality. There are certain criteria that have to be met to qualify for a credit split.

CPP credit splitting is not permitted is if all earnings from the pension in one year of spouses, ex-spouses and former common law partners did not come to more than double the basic tax exemption. Also, if one of the partners was deemed disabled as per the CPP disability benefit, a split won't be issued. A CPP split will not be granted either for the time when a spouse, ex-spouse or former common law partner was listed as a CPP beneficiary.

There are time limits to be considered as well. For example, if a couple divorced or had their marriage annulled on or before Jan. 1, 1987, they may qualify for a CPP credit split if, for 12 consecutive months, they lived with the person and one of the partners lets Service Canada know of the details. Either spouse or partner may ask that a CPP credit be split. A lawyer experienced in family law can make a request on behalf of his or her client. One of the spouses must sign the legal document which is filed.

There are many issues which come under the family law umbrella in Canada and dividing such benefits as CPP credits is just one of them. It may be an astute move for those in divorce or separation situations to obtain legal counsel. An experienced lawyer would be able to advise a client on particulars such as these as they pertain to his or her particular situation.  

Source:, "Divorced or separated: Splitting Canada Pension Plan credits", Accessed on Feb. 2, 2018

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