Did you know that Quebec is the second province in Canada with the highest number of common-law couples?  Although common-law partners have no obligation to each other, is it really a good thing to have this status?  At what level?  Are there any obligations?  Learn more now!

Important facts to know

Legally, common-law partners have no obligations that bind them, regardless of the lifetime of their relationship.  In the event of a break-up, they take back their possessions, but no family patrimony applies.  So, the division of property will be done according to who had what in his name.

Even if you spend 30 years with the same person, being a common-law partner, that does not make you a legal heir.  Because according to the Civil Code of Quebec, a partner in a couple in a common-law relationship is considered as a single one.  So, if the deceased spouse did not have a will, the other surviving spouse will be left out in favour of the children and the deceased’s family.

In the case of real estate, if a common-law partner has signed to be the sole owner of the house, he or she can sell it without the consent of the other.  Once sold, the money collected often will not be shared.  Also, since there is no legal obligation, a breakout offers nothing in return (e. g. alimony).

Finally, a child born of a common-law relationship has the same rights as another child born in a marriage.  Then it is possible to claim child support in his name.  In fact, some laws recognize common-law status.  This is the case with the SAAQ, RQ, etc., which offers compensation in the event of the death of a spouse.

Prevent unpleasant situations

So living in a common-law relationship has some advantages, but it is better to be wary of the consequences.  In a real estate situation, it is best to buy and sign together to avoid problems if you decide to sell your property.

One of the most important cases is to put the will in place.  Since the common-law spouse is considered as a single person under the Civil Code of Quebec, it is strongly recommended that the couple consult a notary to draw up a will.  Indeed, once the death has occurred, the heir spouse will have his rights as it had been predetermined before.  Then it will not be ignored for the benefit of children and the family.


By personal or sometimes monetary choice, many couples prefer to live in a common-law relationship rather than marry or join a civil union.  Although the common-law spouse is becoming more and more popular, this situation does not offer the same protections as a marriage.  So it is better to be aware of what common-law relationships can offer.  But one of the crucial steps is to make a will so that you don’t forget the surviving common-law partner.


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