Basic principles of matrimonial law

Knowledge of the basic principles of matrimonial law is essential for plan administrators who must fulfil tasks related to the partition of benefits under a supplemental pension plan (SPP).

These basic principles relate to:

General information

The Civil Code of Québec provides that for the purposes of family patrimony, no one may contravene the rules of valuation and partition provided for in specific laws, such as the Supplemental Pension Plans Act.

When a marriage ends, the value of certain property belonging to the spouses must be determined and possibly shared. This is the case when there is a separation from bed and board, divorce, civil annulment of marriage or death.

The pension plan is part of the family patrimony, unless the two following conditions are met:

  • the dissolution of the marriage is caused by the death of one of the spouses.
  • the plan is subject to or created by a law which grants a death benefit to the surviving spouse.

Since the Supplemental Pension Plans Act grants a death benefit to the surviving spouse, there is no valuation or partition following the death of a member or his or her spouse.

Legal references

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