Who is considered to be a qualifying spouse?
A qualifying spouse is a person who, at the earlier of the date you retire or pass away, you are:
- Married to but not separated from; or
- Living within a common-law relationship
i. Continuously for a period of not less than one year, or
ii. Of some permanence, if he or she is the natural or adoptive parent of your child.
Understanding the definition of a qualifying spouse is important for a couple of reasons:
- The spouse you have at retirement is entitled to spousal benefits when you pass away. More information about spousal benefits is available on the Survivor Benefits information sheet.
- If you separate before or after retirement, your pension benefits during your relationship are considered divisible assets under Family Law. For more information about how ending a spousal relationship can impact your pension, please visit http://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/.
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