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Family Patrimony

When you are legally married, you are subject to the laws relating to the Family Patrimony and matrimonial regimes, unless a specific exclusion has been agreed upon between the parties. In Quebec, the rules applicable in virtue of the Family Patrimony are public order, which means they automatically apply to you and your spouse, no matter the circumstance. (There are exceptions for spouses who were opted out prior to 1991). In virtue of these rules, spouses will equally divide the following assets which have been accumulated during the marriage:

  1. Family residence(s) (includes secondary residence(s));
  2. Furniture which garnishes the family residence(s);
  3. Family vehicles;
  4. Retirement funds accumulated during the marriage.

There are, of course, exceptions which we can explain and guide you through. All remaining property is then governed by the spouses’ matrimonial regime, which we will explain next.

Matrimonial Regimes

The following information will help you understand your matrimonial regime and the laws relating to it, but we are only a phone call away to help you understand and make sense of how this relates to your individual situation. The matrimonial regime is made up of two choices:

  1. Partnership of Acquests – the legal regime which automatically applies once married in the Province of Quebec;
  2. Separation as to Property – the exception to the rule. You and your spouse must have previously signed an agreement in this regard.
Partnership of Acquests

Spouses can agree to choose their matrimonial regime or even create their own if the rules of the regime are not contrary to the applicable law. Spouses who did not choose a regime when getting married are automatically assigned the matrimonial regime of Partnership of Acquests.

The Partnership of Acquests applies to all marriages in Quebec as of July 1, 1970, in situations where the spouses did not choose a regime or sign a notarized marriage contract when getting married.

This regime is made up of two separate categories of property:

  1. Private property;
  2. Acquests.

Generally, the value of any property accumulated during the marriage is partitioned and divided once the marriage is over. However, this does not include the spouses’ private property. Private property is what belongs solely to one spouse and is not divisible, including:

  • Property received before the marriage;
  • Awards;
  • Diplomas;
  • Work instruments;
  • Money received as compensation/benefits;
  • Property received as a gift.

An acquest is property that the spouses accumulated during the marriage, including:

  • Salaries;
  • Investments.

Several other factors are taken into consideration such as the debts of the spouses. These aspects are matters we can help you understand in order to choose the best approach to take during your divorce process.

Separation as to Property

In this matrimonial regime, each spouse is responsible for their own debts and is independent to manage their own property without their spouse’s consent, provided it does not form part of Family Patrimony, all according to the terms included in their marriage contract.

As with all the information within this section, if you are confused or unsure how it applies to you, we are only a phone call away. We can answer all your questions based on your specific situation.


Where a custody agreement is in place, a parent who wishes or needs to relocate must understand the potential impact to the existing custody arrangement to determine whether such a move is in the child(ren)’s best interest. In situations where parents do not agree, these issues will need to be addressed by the court or negotiated. There have been recent changes in rules applicable to relocation where the spouses are married. It is best to contact us, so as to ensure that you are acting in respect of the law. We have the knowledge and experience to help guide you through these negotiations.