Episode 27

Wealth Management & Family Law

Part 3: Unmarried Couples in Québec

In Québec, approximately 40% of couples are not married – the highest percentage across Canada. At the same time, the legal protection offered by the family patrimony and matrimonial regimes only apply to married couples.

What happens when unmarried couples separate? How can you protect yourself, your family, and your assets? Patricia Fourcand is back for our final episode on family law in Québec to explain the key aspects of family law that unmarried couples need to understand when it comes to separation or division of assets and ongoing support.

Patricia is a lawyer and partner at Miller Thomson, a large Canadian law firm with offices across the country. She has over 20 years of experience in family law with expertise including divorce, separation, and child custody. Patricia is also a fellow at the International Academy of Family Lawyers, which is a worldwide association that recognizes lawyers that are the most experienced and skilled in family law in their respective countries.

On this episode, Ruben and Patricia discuss the difference between common-law and de facto spouses, legal protection available for de facto spouses, the imbalance in protection for married and unmarried couples, how recent legal cases have created an opening for de facto spouses, why you might want to have a domestic contract with your partner, and so much more!

Thank you for listening!

Key Topics:

  • The major difference between de facto and common-law spouses (2:36)
  • Legal protection available for de facto spouses (4:10)
  • Why the family patrimony and matrimonial regimes don’t apply to unmarried couples (6:07)
  • The legislative response to the imbalance in the treatment of unmarried and married couples (7:25)
  • The Eric v. Lola Supreme Court case arguing for equal rights regardless of marital status (8:50)
  • How the ”unjust enrichment” theory provides an opening for de facto spouses (11:25)
  • The changing use of unjust enrichment (13:51)
  • Jurisprudence in Québec in cases of unjust enrichment (16:49)
  • Spousal support for de facto spouses (18:13)
  • When de facto spouses may be entitled to a portion of a spouse’s pension plan (19:54)
  • Why unmarried couples may utilize domestic contracts (21:00)
  • Patricia’s key takeaway when it comes to family law (24:02)
  • And much more!

Thanks for Listening!

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