You have found your soul mate and you want to share your life with your loved one. Settling any financial issues through a marriage contract can be a good decision which can predict your situation within 20 years. Your notary, civil marriage celebrant can explain to you all of the implications arising from a civil marriage with or without a marriage contract. In order to guarantee yourself a quiet life, it is worth knowing from the beginning the implications of your decision, including your rights.

The family patrimony confirms the equal rights of the two partners united by the ties of civil marriage, both legally and economically. Thus, if the marriage comes to an end due to a divorce, a legal separation, or because of the death of one of the spouses, the division of the patrimony will take place according to the rules established for the family patrimony, regardless of the matrimonial regimes previously chosen.

The law imposing the division of the value of all assets which composed the family patrimony in equal shares in case of the couple’s separation came into force on the 1st of July 1989. This division consists of sharing the money that is equal to the net value of all the assets; it is not about the division of assets.

What the family patrimony includes

The family patrimony consists of the following assets which are the property of one of the two partners:

  • Family residences (houses, condos, chalets, etc.) and furniture used by the members of the family

By deciding for the family residence, you should know that the property rights of the house do not change; this means that, by marriage, the spouses do not become co-owners. On the other hand, the part of the residence used by the family is considered as being part of the family patrimony, and this implies that in case of divorce, the value of this part will be shared between the two.

Moreover, this law creates restrictions in order to protect the family residences. Specifically, the spouse who owns a family home is not free to sell or to mortgage it without the consent of his spouse if the building is indeed the family residence.

  • The vehicles used for family travel
  • Pension plans and benefits accrued in this way

Of all the rights attached to a pension plan, just the ones which have been accumulated during the marriage are included in the family patrimony.

  • Work earnings registered in the name of each spouse to the Quebec Pension Plan

After June 30, 1989, all your earned income registered with Quebec Pension Plan is deemed to be shared between you and your spouse, if your marriage will come to an end. There are also some exceptions to this rule, but only in case you have previously signed a notarized agreement that establishes the renunciation of the division of the family patrimony. In order to make the decision to forego sharing, you should make sure to seek some legal advice.

It is important to note that when a couple has lived in a common-law relationship before marriage, it is possible that the income earned in the matrimonial regime during that period may also be shared.

The vast palette of aspects which must be taken into consideration during marriage and the establishment of the family patrimony will require the expertise of a confirmed legal adviser.

Me Leopold Lincà, notary and wedding officiant in Montreal, will be able to give you pertinent advice customized to your specific situation and to help you make the most informed choice.

Contact us now!