Ministère de la Justice
Marriage and civil union regimes Spouses who are married or in a civil union must have a marriage or civil union regime. The regime is a set of rules governing
The couple may choose a regime when drawing up a marriage or civil union contract with a notary before the marriage or civil union ceremony . They may choose one of the following regime:
The couple may also create their own marriage or civil union regime by combining the rules of two or more regimes. For example, a couple could choose to consider some of their property as acquests and, for the rest of their property, to apply the rules of separation as to property. In other words, the spouses can adapt their regime to their own situation.
The notary indicates the regime chosen in the register of personal and movable real rights, except if it is the default regime.
To amend a marriage or civil union regime, the spouses must contact a notary; if they need to apply to the courts for an amendment, they should contact an attorney.
Prospective spouses should choose their marriage or civil union regime at least three weeks before the celebration of the marriage or civil union. The price for drawing up the contract depends on its complexity and the fees charged by the notary.
1. Regime of separation as to property Under the regime of separation as to property, both spouses in the marriage or civil union retain exclusive ownership of their own property. The regime may be chosen when the spouses sign a notarial marriage or civil union contract.
The regime may be requested, in an application to the court, if the couple’s marriage or civil union regime no longer matches their interests or the interests of their family. In addition, it is generally imposed following a separation from bed and board (legal separation).
Property Under the regime of separation as to property, each spouse administers his or her own property, is responsible for his or her personal debts, and is jointly responsible for the debts contracted for the family’s day-to-day needs.
Dissolution When the regime is dissolved, each spouse retains the property for which he or she can prove exclusive ownership. Other property is deemed to belong to both spouses.
2. Regime of community of property Under the regime of community of property, each spouse in the marriage or civil union has private property and shared property, which can be either
The regime of community of property used to be the default regime. It still applies to couples who married before April 2, 1981, unless they have since signed a marriage contract. It can still be chosen by couples when they sign a notarial marriage or civil union contract, provided they complete it with clauses borrowed from the regime of partnership of acquests.
Private property Under the regime of community of property, each spouse administers his or her private property, consisting in particular of:
Community property The community property consists of all the property shared and administered by both spouses, such as:
Some debts are also included in the community property, such as:
Wife’s reserved property The wife’s reserved property is the shared property administered by the wife, namely:
The wife can dispose of her property freely.
Dissolution When the regime is dissolved, each spouse retains his or her private property, and the community property and reserved property is divided equally between the two spouses.
The wife can retain her reserved property by waiving the division of the community property. This option is not open to the husband.
3. Regime of partnership of acquests Under the regime of partnership of acquests, each spouse in the marriage or civil union has private property, and property known as acquests.This regime constitutes the legal regime. The partnership of acquests is the default regime for all couples who have not chosen another regime in their notarial marriage or civil union contract.
A personalized version of the regime of partnership of acquests can be defined in the notarial contract.
Private property In a partnership of acquests, each spouse administers and may dispose of his or her private property and acquests and is solely responsible for any debts contracted, except debts contracted for the day-to-day needs of the family, for which both spouses are responsible.
Private property includes:
Acquests An acquest is property acquired by a spouse during the marriage or civil union that is not considered by law to be private property, such as work income and income from the spouse’s private property and acquests.
One spouse must obtain consent from the other spouse, or from a court, before disposing of an acquest.
Dissolution When the regime is dissolved, the value of the acquests, except the acquests included in the family patrimony, is divided equally between the two spouses in the form of property or money.
One spouse may refuse to accept the acquests of the other spouse, but must still share his or her own acquests. If both spouses decide not to share the acquests, they each keep their own private property and their acquests.
End of a matrimonial regime A marriage or civil union regime ends:
an annulment of a marriage or civil union,
a dissolution of a civil union,
a separation of bed and board,
a separation as to property,
permission to liquidate the patrimonial rights of the spouses, if a spouse has been absent for one year;
following the dissolution of a civil union by a notary;
when a new matrimonial regime is chosen by way of a notarial contract;
when one of the spouses dies.
Immovable property Property that cannot be moved, such as land, a building, a hypothec or a right in land. Movable property Corporeal property (a thing) or incorporeal property (a debt) that can be moved and that is not deemed by law to be immovable, such as an account receivable, a road vehicle, a mobile home or a boat.
The following persons are concerned:
The matrimonial regime takes effect when the marriage or civil union is celebrated. A change to a marriage or civil union regime takes effects when it is signed.
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