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I have been with my spouse for 21 years but only married for 6 months before separation and have two children am I entitled to his pension or RRSP. I am from Ontario.

First of all, your entitlement to some of the value of your husband’s CPP or RRSP is governed by your marital status at the time of separation.  Fortunately, you were legally married – however briefly – at the time of your split.  (This serves you well because under Ontario legislation, common law partners have different rights compared to married spouses, most notably that the “Part I – Family Property” portions of the Family Law Act are not available to them).

Next, you have not specified whether you are referring to your husband’s pension under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), or else a private pension offered to him through his employer.  For CPP pensions, both of your separate contributions – referred to as “credits” – are recorded by the government; the credits you each accumulated over the course of your marriage are divided in a mandatory process known as “credit splitting”.

For a private pension from your husband’s employer, you should know that pensions are considered “property” under the Family Law Act and are subject to equalization.  The value of your husband’s pension will be included in his Net Family Property when it’s time to equalize your respective assets as part of your divorce.  The exercise will include calculating the value under provincial pension legislation, which is a complicated exercise.  Likewise, the value of some of his RRSP may be available to you, but in both cases you will need to speak with an experienced Family Law lawyer to establish the precise limits of your potential entitlement. The outcome will depend on your overall situation, and there is no one-size-fits-all rule that applies to all scenarios.

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