Monday, March 03, 2008

Common Law Spouse Challenges Quebec Civil Code

Under the Quebec Civil Code, common law spouses who have separated in Quebec have few entitlements in comparison to those of the same group in other Provinces.

At 35 percent, the Province of Quebec boasts the highest percentage of common law spouses in the Country. A constitutional challenge by one Quebec woman may have a serious legal impact in the Province.

The woman, whose name cannot legally be released, separated from her wealthy common law spouse in 2003. She intends to seek a $50 million lump sum payment, in addition to spousal support of $56,000.00 a month, in 2003.

The Globe and Mail reports:

“[A Montreal Woman is] fighting a constitutional challenge that would rewrite the rules on couples who shack up but forgo marriage - a trend that is especially widespread among Quebeckers, the Canadian champions of common-law unions.

"There are two classes in Quebec - married women with conventional benefits, and second-class common-law spouses who end up having to fend for themselves," says one of the woman's lawyers, Anne-France Goldwater.

…Ms. Goldwater is challenging the constitutionality of Quebec's Civil Code, as well as Canadian marriage laws, which she argues discriminate against live-in couples because they restrict the definition of marriage to a "lawful union" of two people.

"Common-law couples are being left out of the definition without regard for the quality of the relationship they've entered into," Ms. Goldwater said.
We will continue to follow this case and provide updates as it develops.

- Annie Noa Kenet Toronto

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Anonymous said...

I wonder if Ms Goldwater will feel the same when she and her common law spouse eventually split up. Will she graciously share her assets? I think not! Ms Goldwater's battles in court seem to constantly contradict her previous positions as her ethics and values tend to change like the weather.

Unknown said...

Interesting. I didn't know I had a friend called "anonymous." How remarkably ungracious! Does Mr. or Ms. A really look forward to my common law spouse and I breaking up? And were he and I to break up (about a snowball's chance in hell), what in heaven's name makes Mr/Ms A think I would not graciously share my assets, or that I have not already done so? And let's say I were a class A bitch in my private life and DID do what Mr/Ms A fantasizes about, would that be a reason for society to be equally unfair and improper to all common law couples? As for the odd analogy to the weather, does Mr/Ms A mean that I am a hot chick (as in global warming), or that I am like a Montreal snowstorm and completely blanket the opposition?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Very interesting and I wish all the best to the woman fighting for her righfull share and great for her lawyer in commenting in retaliation to the mr or miss anonymous. But one thing i would say, its not always between two persons of the opposite sex. It is very sad in this day and age that everyone thinks this type of relation only exists between a man and a woman what about all the gay and lesbian couples out there which should have the same status as our common law partners throughtout Canada. Anyways this will hopefully conclude in a positive way to change the law in Quebec and bring it up to current norm of all of Canada and the USA and please do not comment politically to this last comment in relation to sovereinty or the unique status of Quebec and its civil Code .
and yes i will sign it as Michael

froggy said...

Quebec will have to come out of the Dark Ages as far as their laws on civil marriage are concerned.

In the rest of Canada, a common law wife is recognized as having contributed to the wealth of the union, and is entitled to compensation. Are Quebec women worth less? I don't think so!