Did I Get Screwed?
There are perhaps some financial matters that a couple, newly in love and thinking of sharing their lives together don’t think about but it is necessary to protect both of your interests and to do it properly from the start.
Number one to perhaps consider is that if you live together (cohabitate) for a period of just one year, you are considered to be in a common-law partnership/relationship. Okay so what does that mean? It means that you have just slightly less rights to property and or money splitting as a couple married for the same length of time.
My ex and I had wills drawn up and we each had the others’ legal and personal Powers of Attorney. A good start but it becomes moot after Separation Papers have been signed and her copies of her will and power of attorneys’ disappear from the safety deposit box where they resided for quite some time. I picked up mine a few weeks later.
A mutual pre-nuptial agreement may be a very good idea and the best investment in time and money you can make.
It might seem a bit dramatic to mention this but I firmly believe that if you are in a committed relationship, whether common-law or marriage, a mutual pre-nuptial agreement may be a very good idea and the best investment in time and money you can make.
Oh, I can hear you now pooh-poohing this and declining the information and saying, “But we love each other and there would never be any way in which I or my love would ever hurt each other or screw each other or change and not be friends at the end of our relationship.” Yeah? I thought so too.
I’ve been there, in a relationship of more than 20 years and had I known then what I know now, yes, they can change and they can hurt you, and that can affect even your plans for what you can get out of your retirement benefits from the government. You’ve probably got a retirement settlement from your job but what do you know about what paperwork is required and when as far as the Government of Canada Pension Plans are concerned?
I’ll bet you didn’t know that you are entitled to “Canada Pension Plan Credit Sharing” if you’ve earned less than your partner. But the monkey wrench in the works is that you need to apply 48 months (4 years) after your Legal Separation to qualify for this. (Your ages, at the time of Separation are not relevant.) Make sure that if there is shared property, that you get a Legal Separation to put down in writing, legally, what is what.
As far as our Legal Separation was concerned, in all the 12 pages, neither of the lawyers thought to mention CPP Pension Credit Splitting and as my ex is much more plugged into the legal field (her brother is a lawyer) I’m figuring that may have been why she hasn’t spoken to me for the last 5 or so years. Hell, there could be other issues involved of an emotional nature, but because of this recent turn of events, I’m left wondering if that was the main issue.
You must also claim all your necessary OAS, CPP and something called Guaranteed Income Supplement at least 6 months before your retirement date or your 65th birthday. (You would have been aware of this fact if you had applied for CPP Pension Credit Split before the 4-year deadline.)
I don’t know what to think. When you come right down to it, it’s a horrible way to think of an ex partner. I’ve had a lawyer write her a letter with no results or reply but the Government is looking into it for me.
I just want you to be aware of the legal ins and outs of everything you do. If it turns out that you are the one dumped, the attitude of your partner can do a 180 degree turn as mine did and you could find yourself wondering, would she do that to me or is it just my imagination or the inept workings of two family court lawyers?
Take care of yourselves and remember, don’t find yourself in the position of saying to yourself, did I get screwed or is it just the luck of the draw?
photo credit: victor|bonomi
, Canada Pension Plan
, Credit Sharing
, Credit Splitting
, Freya Hansen
, Power of Attorny