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Discover the latest for unmarried partners: Bill 56

April 18th, 2024

Are you ready for a transformation in the realm of family law in Quebec? If so, buckle up, because Bill 56 is about to change the terms for unmarried partners who are parents!

What is parental union?

Imagine a marital regime designed for unmarried partners with children. That's exactly what Bill 56 aims to create with the introduction of parental union. Its goal is clear: to establish a new dynamic of parental union for unmarried partners with a child together after the law comes into effect on June 30, 2025. Parental union emerges as a modern version of Quebec's regime for unmarried partners, offering a major update since 1980.

Key points to remember

This bill will apply to couples who have a child after June 2025, while preserving the situation of current couples. Indeed, Bill 56 will not be retroactive and therefore does not target unmarried partners who are already parents. As soon as a child is born to unmarried partners, parental union is formed, including the family residence (not secondary family residences like in the current bill for married couples), furniture, and vehicles, regardless of ownership. Parents can also choose to exclude a particular asset from parental union through a notarized agreement.

If there is a termination of parental union, the net value of these assets will be divided equally between the parents, subject to certain exceptions, including adjustments in favor of a parent who already owned an asset included in parental union at its formation, or who invested funds from an inheritance or donation into an asset of parental union after its creation. It is interesting to note that retirement plans and RRSPs are specifically excluded from parental union, meaning each parent will remain the sole owner of assets registered in their name for these purposes. This exclusion can be explained by the fact that retirement plans and RRSPs are generally not used by the family, whereas the legislator's objective is the best interest of the child following a separation.

Furthermore, Bill 56 does not provide for spousal support between unmarried partners as it does for married couples. Regarding child support, Bill 56 does not make any changes since it was already calculated in the same way as for married parents, taking into account the financial resources of the parents, the number of children, and custody arrangements.

The regime also provides for unmarried partners, after the end of parental union, the right to seek compensatory support from the court if they believe they have become impoverished after contributing to the other partner's enrichment. Before Bill 56, unmarried partners could already seek unjust enrichment, but the new reform clarifies certain guidelines for this type of claim. Moreover, measures will be taken to address situations of judicial violence, to avoid situations such as the multiplication of court proceedings aimed at prolonging the dispute and exercising a form of control over the ex-partner. Couples can choose, by mutual agreement, to exclude themselves from the application of parental union through a notarized agreement, and if necessary, we recommend obtaining independent legal advice beforehand.

Why is this important?

This bill represents much more than just an update to the legal system. It is a recognition of the diversity of family models. Stay tuned as it is not excluded that the legislator may make certain modifications to Bill 56.

Concerned about this new bill?

With our multidisciplinary team and our 360° service offering, we would be happy to assist you not only in answering your questions but also in guiding you according to your needs and situation in family law.

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