The short answer is yes, the registered earnings during marriage should be split 50/50 but there are exceptions which will be discussed in detail below.
The Quebec Pension Plan is a compulsory insurance plan for workers in Quebec who are 18 years-old and over, and it is regulated by the Act Respecting the Quebec Pension Plan. The QPP provides financial protection to workers and their families in anticipation of retirement, death or disability.
Article 415 paragraph 2 of the Civil Code of Quebec (C.c.Q.) establishes that the family patrimony includes the registered earnings, during the marriage, of each spouse pursuant to the Act respecting the Quebec Pension Planand other similar plans. This means that only the gains of each spouse accumulated during the marriage will be partitioned equally according to the principles of family patrimony, in the event of a divorce, separation from bed and board or the dissolution of the marriage.
The Court cannot order the partition of earnings accumulated before the marriage when the couple lived as common-law spouses prior to getting married. Common law partners must express their intention to partition the earnings accumulated in a written contract to that effect.
In the event of a divorce, separation from bed and board or the dissolution of the marriage, the partition of the earnings is executed by listing half of the admissible earnings accumulated for each spouse for each year of marriage. For example, if during 10 years of marriage the husband accumulated $20,000 per year and the wife accumulated $10,000 per year, the Régie des rentes will inscribe that for the ten years each spouse accumulated $15,000 each, which is the equivalent to half of the earnings accumulated jointly for both spouses.
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The partition of the earnings registered in the name of each spouse will be done automatically by the government body responsible for the administration of the plan as soon as a divorce judgment or a judgment of separation from bed and board is rendered for the parties. Therefore, you do not need to inform the government of the judgment, because pursuant to article 425 of the C.C.Q., it is done automatically as soon as they receive the judgment from the courthouse. Articles 102.1 and following of the Act respecting the Quebec Pension Plan explicitly determines its partition “de plein droit” (of full right), meaning that it does not have to be expressly stipulated. It is assumed, unless written otherwise.
However, it is possible for either spouse, or for both of them to renounce the partition of these earnings. The Régie des rentes of Québec will not proceed with the partition of the earnings accumulated during the marriage, if during the proceedings, either one of the following occurs:
1. The parties renounce in a consent on accessory measures to the partition of the family patrimony;
2. The parties grant each other a reciprocal and irrevocable acquittance of all rights arising out of the marriage;
3. The court mentions in the divorce judgment that the parties renounced to the partition of the family patrimony;
4. The parties renounce to the partition of the family patrimony by notarial act pursuant to article 423 of the C.C.Q;
Pursuant to article 102.1 of the Act Respecting the Quebec Pension Plan, it is mandatory that the court indicates in the judgment giving rise to partition that the former spouses have explicitly renounced to the partition. The judgment will only have effect if it clearly expresses the intention that there be no partition. The judgment must have a clause similar to the following: “There shall be no partition of earnings registered pursuant to the Act Respecting the Quebec pension Plan”.
It is important to highlight that the parties cannot renounce to the partition of the earnings accumulated without declaring in the proceedings that they are aware of the value of their respective contributions to the Quebec Pension Plan, and of their right to have communication of the value of their respective contributions to the Quebec Pension Plan.
If the parties are not aware of the value of their respective contributions, the court can refuse to render the judgment until the parties declare that they had access to this information. To obtain a statement of the contributions admissible to the partition, you can access your ClicSÉQUR account and consult your statement online. For more information, please visit the link below and do not hesitate to contact us to book a consultation if you have any questions: