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Towards the creation of a “parental union” in Quebec for de facto spouses

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press The Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette, tabled a bill on Wednesday reforming marital and family law.

Unmarried parents are in the process of being entrusted with rights and obligations historically associated with people married or in a civil union in Quebec. By tabling the second part of his family law reform, Simon Jolin-Barrette intends to create a new regime: “parental union”.

The Minister of Justice tabled Bill 56 on Wednesday “on the reform of family law and establishing the parental union regime”. Expected, this revision of marital law aims to create a system in which married couples and de facto spouses who have had a child would, after all, be equal in the eyes of the law.

In this context, people in a common-law union who have or adopt a child after the sanction of the bill would hold “parental union assets made up of certain assets of the spouses”. In the event of separation, the “rules of protection and allocation of family residence” applied until now to married people would also apply to spouses in a parental union.

Unlike the marital regime, the system proposed by the Minister of Justice for common-law couples does not provide for the sharing of the registered retirement savings plan and the pension fund.

In Quebec, 42% of couples live in a common-law union, according to Statistics Canada. This is more than Sweden (33%), Canada as a whole (23%), the United Kingdom (21%) or France (18%).

“In addition to certain advances which deserve to be highlighted, such as the institution of civil union in 2002 which will have allowed same-sex spouses to marry and adopt a child, it is necessary to “to note that a gap has widened between the marital reality of Quebecers and the legal regime in force”, noted Minister Jolin-Barrette on Wednesday, presenting his bill to the media in the Parliament Building.

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A sequel to Éric c. Lola

This reform of marital law is the first gesture by a government in this direction since the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Éric v. Lola, in 2013. At the time, the highest court in the country ruled that the Quebec regime was partly discriminatory against de facto spouses, without however invalidating it.

Then, in 2015, a major report from the Advisory Committee on Family Law recommended that Quebec “establish between the parents of a common dependent child a legal bond accompanied by reciprocal rights and obligations”. 60~/p>

“Our law must better reflect the realities of families in modern Quebec. The Quebec family has evolved greatly, and the law that governs it must do the same,” said Mr. Jolin-Barrette, surrounded by his Family colleague, Suzanne Roy, and his parliamentary assistant, Karianne Bourassa, MP. of Charlevoix–Côte-de-Beaupré, Wednesday.

In practice, Bill 56 stipulates that spouses in a parental union will form a common property, composed of the family residence, the car and furniture. These will be subject to a separation in equal parts in the event of a rupture.

The legislative text also provides that a court can grant a “right of use” of the residence to the parent who obtains custody of the child at the end of a union. This would allow him to occupy the house “for a specific time” without being the owner.

“In short, we do not want to forcefully marry Quebecers, but we want to ensure protection, a safety net for the children,” summarized Mr. Jolin-Barrette on Wednesday.< /p>

Variable access

Not all people in a common-law union will have access to the parental union regime.

Only people who have children after the sanction of the law will be automatically registered, and they will have the right to withdraw from it by notarial deed.

Unmarried couples who had children before the change to the law will have to expressly request to join the regime, by making “a positive gesture”.

“I can’t redo the past. I think people have organized their lives. And it was a choice when they had children,” explained Mr. Jolin-Barrette to justify his decision to create two categories of parents in a common-law union.

The CAQ minister assures that people who find themselves forced to renounce the parental union regime will have recourse. “The notary is responsible for verifying the free and informed consent of the person at the time of signing. And if ever, for any reason, the spouse was under the influence of Mr. in a situation of domestic violence, her consent could have been vitiated,” he argued, Wednesday.

Other measures provided for in the bill:

  • If there is no will, a spouse in a parental union can inherit from their deceased spouse “if they had lived together since at least less than a year”.
  • Members of a parental union do not have to pay alimony to their ex-spouse in the event of a breakup.
  • A person “who became impoverished after having contributed to enriching the assets” of their ex-spouse may ask a court to obtain compensation.
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116