Separation or divorce and your pension
Learn how a separation or divorce affects your pension and review the issues to consider.
Changing beneficiaries after separation
If you are married or in a common-law relationship of more than two years, your spouse is automatically your beneficiary. If you separate, you may wish to name a new beneficiary. However, your ability to do so depends on whether you separate before or after you start receiving your pension.
If you separate before you start receiving your pension
If you separate before you begin receiving your pension, you may be able to name a beneficiary other than your former spouse.
If your former spouse becomes a limited member of BC's Teachers' Pension Plan, they can name their own beneficiary to receive their portion of the pension when they die.
If you separate after you've started receiving your pension
Your ability to change your beneficiary or nominate multiple beneficiaries depends on the pension option you chose when you retired.
You may only change your beneficiary if both of the following are true:
- You chose a single life pension option with a guarantee period
- Your spouse gave up their beneficiary rights to your pension by signing a waiver
You cannot change your beneficiary if you chose a joint life pension option when you retired. Your former spouse will continue to be the beneficiary of your pension when you die, even if you have a signed separation agreement or registered court order.
If your former spouse dies while there is still a remaining guarantee period in your pension, you can name a new beneficiary.
Sign in to My Account or check your pension statement (sent in January each year) to find out which pension option you chose at retirement.