PATRIMONY AND SPOUSAL SUPPORT
Spousal support or alimony for the benefit of the spouse
Marriage creates an alimentary obligation between spouses. A spouse is therefore entitled to request during legal proceedings of divorce or separation, spousal support from her/his spouse.To the opposite of child support which is mandatory and of public order, spousal support is not. A spouse might have the right to claim spousal support but may renounce to it or decide not to claim it. If he/she does, the calculation of spousal support is based according to the needs of the spouse requesting it and the capacity to pay of the other spouse.
Taking into account the objectives established the Divorce Act, the Civil Code of Quebec as well as case law, we will answer all of your questions about your rights and obligations regarding spousal support.
THE FAMILY PATRIMONY AND THE MATRIMONIAL REGIME
The marriage engenders the constitution of the family patrimony. The main elements of the family patrimony are the family residence and the furniture, the cars for the family, the pension plans and RRSPs. The divorce or the legal separation entails the division of the family patrimony and assets. You could however ask for an uneven division in certain circumstances. During the divorce or the separation process your family lawyer will advise you about all your rights, and about the evaluation of your patrimony and assets. He will also help you to waive the deductions to which you could be entitled to regarding the properties bought before the marriage or from inheritances.
Other properties and goods of the couple constitute the matrimonial regime of acquests?, if you have no marriage contract. So the debts and the bank accounts will be the object of a division. Good advises during the divorce process minimize the conflicts and guarantee better and fair results for both parties.
Common law spouses
Children of common law spouses have the same rights as children born from married couples. The custodial parent will therefore be entitled to child support according to the guidelines established by law, as stated above.
As for spousal support, only married spouses or those in a civil union benefit from the legal status and the protections offered by the Civil Code of Quebec. This might change shortly since the highly mediatised file of Eric vs. Lola is presently before the Supreme Court of Canada who will soon render a judgment regarding the constitutionality of certain sections of the Civil Code of Quebec.
Meanwhile, a cohabitation agreement allows a couple to foresee the consequences of their separation and to guarantee them a certain level of material security. It can deal with the conditions of seperating property, bank accounts or other assets, any support payments, the responsibility of personal debts, the contribution of each spouse to common debts, etc…
Under the principles of public order and the freedom to conclude contracts, a couple is able to personalize the agreement. We can advise you on your concerns and answer in clear legal terms to your needs and expectations. Contact one of our lawyers specialized in family law if you would like assistance in putting together a cohabitation agreement.